Long-Term Effects of Portacaval Anastomosis on the 5-Hydroxytryptamine, Histamine, and Catecholamine Neurotransmitter Systems in Rat Brain

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Portacaval anastomosis (PCA) in the rat is used as a model for portal systemic encephalopathy. Changes in the serotonergic, histaminergic, and catecholaminergic neurotransmitter systems are often found shortly after PCA. We have examined the long-term effects of PCA on the aminergic systems in brains of male Wistar rats, which 8 months previously had been subjected to PCA. Precursors, amines, and metabolites were assayed by HPLC. Eight months after PCA, the catecholamine levels were unchanged in all brain regions. In contrast, tryptophan was evenly increased throughout the brain. The accumulation of 5-hydroxytryptophan after decarboxylase inhibition (NSD-1015; 100 mg/kg i.p.) and the endogenous levels of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were significantly higher in PCA rats, particularly in the hypothalamus and midbrain, whereas 5-hydroxytryptamine concentrations were unchanged. Histamine levels were elevated throughout the brain with the greatest increase found in the hypothalamus and in the striatum. tele-Methylhistamine levels were significantly elevated in cortex and hypothalamus. We conclude that 8 months after PCA, catecholaminergic systems had reestablished their homeostasis, whereas serotonergic and histaminergic systems still show profound disturbances in their function. With histamine, this is reflected as an increase in the amounts of both transmitter and metabolite; serotonergic neurons respond by increasing only the level of the metabolite.

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