Some Macromolecular Mechanisms in CNS Neurotransmitter Pharmacology and Their Psychobiological Organization

  • Arnold J. Mandell
  • David S. Segal
  • Ronald T. Kuczenski
  • Suzanne Knapp
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 4)


Although it is often uncomfortable for us to do so, it is both salutary and liberating to acknowledge that in all science in general and in new science in particular, we are theoretically bound by the practical limits of our methodologies. When a limited methodology produces an apparent set of systematic observations and these data are equated with words implying function that have intuitive meaning to the scientist, we are on our way to a cosmology. For example, if inhibition of macromolecular biosynthesis in the brain can be associated with a specifiable defect in a task requiring delayed performance, we begin to talk about the chemistry of memory or the consolidation of experience (Barondes, 1970). If it appears that psychotropic drugs alter the release, re-uptake, or accessability of the receptor to biogenic amine putative transmitters (as defined by the myriad of “turnover technologies”, Costa and Neff, 1970), we begin to develop theories relating amine dynamics to behavior and psychopathology. On one end, this system of tautologies is tied down by a series of assumptions worked out in vitro using drug interactions with synaptosomes and their biogenic amine uptake mechanisms as well as studies of peripheral sympathetic nerve endings treated with drugs. These findings are applied to the CNS via various measures of the “turnover” of the biogenic amine in question using disappearance rates, rates of conversion of substrate to product, or the pattern of metabolites before and after drug treatment (Costa and Neff, 1970). On the other side of the equation may be the drug induced or ameliorated psychopathological state in man, the drug altered behavioral state in animals, or in the case of model peripheral systems, the function of an autonomically innervated peripheral organ (Schildkraut, 1970).


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Biogenic Amine Nerve Ending Biosynthetic Enzyme Hydroxylase Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold J. Mandell
    • 1
  • David S. Segal
    • 1
  • Ronald T. Kuczenski
    • 1
  • Suzanne Knapp
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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