Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 292, Issue 2, pp 153–159 | Cite as

Mechanisms of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine β-hydroxylase induction in organ cultures of rat sympathetic ganglia by potassium depolarization and cholinomimetics

  • U. Otten
  • H. Thoenen


It was the aim of the present study to elucidate the mechanisms involved in specific tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) induction by potassium depolarization and cholinomimetics in rat superior cervical ganglia kept in organ culture.

The effect of high (54 mM) potassium concentration on intact ganglia seems to result in a dual action:
  1. a)

    a specific induction of TH and DBH via release of acetylcholine from preganglionic cholinergic nerve terminals.

  2. b)

    a non-specific effect on terminal adrenergic neurons resulting in a general increase of protein synthesis as indicated by the increase in DOPA decarboxylase (DDC) and monoamine oxidase (MAO) activities.


In decentralized superior cervical ganglia potassium depolarization failed to produce the specific TH and DBH induction although a small increase in DDC activity persisted. Carbamylcholine, acetylcholine and nicotine at concentrations of 10−4 M elicited a selective induction of TH and DBH both in intact and decentralized ganglia via nicotinic receptor stimulation. Bethanechol, predominantly stimulating muscarinic receptors had no significant effect on TH activity. A 4 h pulse of 10−4 M carbamylcholine produced optimal induction of DBH and TH 24 h and 48 h later respectively. Longer exposure to carbamylcholine resulted in a significantly smaller rise in TH activity.

Key words

Potassium-depolarization Cholinomimetics Trans-synaptic induction Superior cervical ganglia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Otten
    • 1
  • H. Thoenen
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für PharmakologieBiozentrum der Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland

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