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Exp Brain Res. 1992;89(3):496-500.

Alterations of choline acetyltransferase, phosphoinositide hydrolysis, and cytoskeletal proteins in rat brain in response to colchicine administration.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


Colchicine, a microtubule disrupting toxin, was administered intracerebroventricularly to rats, followed by measurements of (i) the activity of choline acetyltransferase, a biochemical marker of cholinergic neurons, (ii) cytoskeletal protein concentrations, including tau, MAP-2, spectrin, and tubulin, and (iii) the activity of the second messenger-generating system, receptor-coupled phosphoinositide hydrolysis. One week after colchicine treatment there was a 60% decrease in choline acetyltransferase activity in the hippocampus, which was followed by a gradual increase in only a 29% deficit after 12 weeks. In the striatum and cerebral cortex, choline acetyltransferase activity was slightly reduced (by 13% and 19%, respectively) 1 week after colchicine treatment followed by increases to control values. The concentrations of tau and tubulin in the hippocampus were unaltered by colchicine treatment, and MAP-2 and spectrin were only slightly reduced 4 weeks after colchicine. Hippocampal phosphoinositide hydrolysis induced by norepinephrine was elevated approximately 28% 1 and 2 weeks after colchicine treatment and that induced by ibotenate was increased by 53% 2 weeks after colchicine. These results demonstrate that colchicine causes a severe depletion of choline acetyltransferase 1 week after administration. There was not a significant reduction of the concentration of any of the cytoskeletal proteins after 1 week, possibly due to the cell-selectivity of the toxic effect of colchicine, but there was a delayed, and temporary, decline of MAP-2 and spectrin concentrations. Associated with the decreased choline acetyltransferase activity after 1 week was an enhanced phosphoinositide hydrolysis in response to norepinephrine, and after 2 weeks there were enhanced responses to norepinephrine and to ibotenate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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