Tyrosine depletion lowers in vivo DOPA synthesis in ventral hippocampus
In vivo dopamine synthesis in the medial prefrontal cortex of the rat is sensitive to the availability of tyrosine. Whether other limbic cortical dopamine terminal regions are similarly tyrosine-dependent is not known. In this study we examined the effects of tyrosine depletion on dopamine synthesis and catecholamine levels in the ventral hippocampus. A tyrosine- and phenylalanine-free neutral amino acid mixture was used to lower brain tyrosine levels in rats undergoing in vivo microdialysis. In one group, NSD-1015 was included in perfusate to permit measurement of DOPA levels. In a second group, NSD-1015 was not included in perfusate so that catecholamine levels could be assayed. Tyrosine depletion significantly lowered DOPA levels in the NSD-1015 treated group and lowered DOPAC but not dopamine or noradrenaline levels in the group not exposed to NSD-1015. We conclude that while catecholamine synthesis in the ventral hippocampus declines when tyrosine availability is lowered, under basal conditions, compensatory mechanisms are able to maintain stable extracellular catecholamine levels.