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Biochem Med. 1985 Aug;34(1):52-9.

Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase activities in human lung tissues: comparison between normal lung and lung carcinomas.


We measured the activity of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase with L-dihydroxyphenylalanine as a substrate (DOPA decarboxylase) in normal lung tissues and lung tumors obtained fresh at surgery. The activity in control human lung tissues was low and variable: 3.50 +/- 0.42 pmole/min/mg protein (n = 56, mean +/- SE, range 0.01-15), indicating the wide individual variations. Most of small cell carcinoma specimens showed very high activity, as compared with both control lung tissues and with other types of non-SCC lung cancers. Similar results were also obtained in the athymic mice heterotransplants of SCC. High activity was also observed using 5-L-hydroxytryptophan as a substrate (5-HTP decarboxylase) in nine SCC samples. Serotonin was not detected in any control lung tissues, but was detected in all the nine SCC samples, but dopamine was detected only in three out of nine SCC samples.

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