Tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation in catecholaminergic brain regions: a marker of activation following acute hypotension and glucoprivation.
The expression of c-Fos defines brain regions activated by the stressors hypotension and glucoprivation however, whether this identifies all brain sites involved is unknown. Furthermore, the neurochemicals that delineate these regions, or are utilized in them when responding to these stressors remain undefined. Conscious rats were subjected to hypotension, glucoprivation or vehicle for 30, 60 or 120 min and changes in the phosphorylation of serine residues 19, 31 and 40 in the biosynthetic enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the activity of TH and/or, the expression of c-Fos were determined, in up to ten brain regions simultaneously that contain catecholaminergic cell bodies and/or terminals: A1, A2, caudal C1, rostral C1, A6, A8/9, A10, nucleus accumbens, dorsal striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. Glucoprivation evoked phosphorylation changes in A1, caudal C1, rostral C1 and nucleus accumbens whereas hypotension evoked changes A1, caudal C1, rostral C1, A6, A8/9, A10 and medial prefrontal cortex 30 min post stimulus whereas few changes were evident at 60 min. Although increases in pSer19, indicative of depolarization, were seen in sites where c-Fos was evoked, phosphorylation changes were a sensitive measure of activation in A8/9 and A10 regions that did not express c-Fos and in the prefrontal cortex that contains only catecholaminergic terminals. Specific patterns of serine residue phosphorylation were detected, dependent upon the stimulus and brain region, suggesting activation of distinct signaling cascades. Hypotension evoked a reduction in phosphorylation in A1 suggestive of reduced kinase activity. TH activity was increased, indicating synthesis of TH, in regions where pSer31 alone was increased (prefrontal cortex) or in conjunction with pSer40 (caudal C1). Thus, changes in phosphorylation of serine residues in TH provide a highly sensitive measure of activity, cellular signaling and catecholamine utilization in catecholaminergic brain regions, in the short term, in response to hypotension and glucoprivation.