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Neurosci Lett. 2004 Jul 8;364(3):159-63.

Developmental changes in the activities of aromatic amino acid decarboxylase and catechol-O-methyl transferase in the porcine brain: a positron emission tomography study.

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  • 1Institut für Interdisziplinäre Isotopenforschung, Permoserstrasse 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany.


Newborn (7-10 days old) and young (6-8 weeks old) pigs were used to study the metabolism of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-DOPA (FDOPA) in various brain regions with positron emission tomography (PET). Compartmental modeling of PET data was used to calculate the rate constants for the decarboxylation of FDOPA (k3) and for the metabolism of the resulting [18F]fluoro-dopamine (kcl). Whereas general physiological parameters such as cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen uptake, arterial blood gases and glucose concentration remained unchanged in young pigs as compared to newborns, a 50-200% increase of k3 in frontal cortex, striatum and mesencephalon was found. Also a 60% enhancement of kcl in the frontal cortex was measured, which is related to changes of the catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT) activity and implies a special function of this enzyme in the development of this brain region. In addition, measurement of plasma metabolites of FDOPA with HPLC was performed. The metabolism of FDOPA in young pigs was significantly faster than in newborns. Calculation of the rate constant for O-methylation of FDOPA by COMT revealed a significant elevation of this enzyme activity in young pigs compared to newborns. The increase of AADC and COMT activity with brain development is considered to be associated with special stages of neuronal maturation and tissue differentiation.

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