Concentrations of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine and catecholamines and metabolites in brain in an anhepatic model of hepatic encephalopathy

Robert Hadesman, Russell H. Wiesner, V. L.W. Go, Gertrude M. Tyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Alterations in the catecholaminergic neurotransmitter systems have been shown to occur in hepatic failure and may contribute to development of hepatic encephalopathy. In the present study we used the rat after complete hepatectomy as a model for study of changes that occur in brain in acute liver failure. We attempted to identify processes in the synthesis, storage, and metabolism of catecholamine neurotransmitters that might be changed during liver failure by measuring levels of, together with those of norepinephrine and dopamine, the precursor (3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) and the neuronal metabolites of dopamine and norepinephrine (3,4- dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol, respectively) in different regions of brains of control rats and of rats after hepatectomy. We found that in most brain regions of hepatectomized rats there were increases in the concentration of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine or of dopamine but decreases in the concentrations of norepinephrine or of 3,4- dihydroxyphenylglycol. The particulate/supernatant ratios of catecholamines are indices of retention of neurotransmitters in storage sites. These ratios were not different in brain regions between control rats and hepatectomized rats, suggesting that vesicular retention of catecholamines in brain was not impaired after hepatectomy. The data suggest that inhibition of dopamine-β- hydroxylase might be a characteristic of hepatic failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1175
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995


  • 3,4- Dihydroxyphenylglycol
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Dopamine-β- hydroxylase
  • Hepatectomy
  • Vesicular retention of catecholamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry


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