Effects of acute tryptophan depletion on brain serotonin function and concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine in C57BL/6J and BALB/cJ mice

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) is a method of lowering brain serotonin (5-HT). Administration of large neutral amino acids (LNAA) limits the transport of endogenous tryptophan (TRP) across the blood brain barrier by competition with other LNAAs and subsequently decreases serotonergic neurotransmission. A recent discussion on the specificity and efficacy of the ATD paradigm for inhibition of central nervous 5-HT has arisen. Moreover, side effects such as vomiting and nausea after intake of amino acids (AA) still limit its use. ATD Moja-De is a revised mixture of AAs which is less nauseating than conventional protocols. It has been used in preliminary clinical studies but its effects on central 5-HT mechanisms and other neurotransmitter systems have not been validated in an animal model. We tested ATD Moja-De (TRP-) in two strains of mice: C57BL/6J, and BALB/cJ, which are reported to have impaired 5-HT synthesis and a more anxious phenotype relative to other strains of mice. ATD Moja-De lowered brain TRP, significantly decreased 5-HT synthesis as indexed by 5-HTP levels after decarboxlyase inhibition, and lowered 5-HT and 5-HIAA in both strains of mice, however more so in C57BL/6J than in BALB/cJ. Dopamine and its metabolites as well as norepinephrine were not affected. A balanced (TRP+) control mixture did not raise 5-HT or 5-HIAA. The present findings suggest that ATD Moja-De effectively and specifically suppresses central serotonergic function. These results also demonstrate a strain- specific effect of ATD Moja-De on anxiety-like behavior. © 2012 Biskup et al.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Biskup CS; Sánchez CL; Arrant A; van Swearingen AED; Kuhn C; Zepf FD
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 5