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      Individual Differences in the Expression of Tyrosine Hydroxylase mRNA in Neurosecretory Neurons of the Human Paraventricular and Supraoptic Nuclei: Positive Correlation with Vasopressin mRNA

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          Previous studies indicated that in the human paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) – the first and rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis – is localized mainly in magnocellular neurosecretory neurons. Individual differences were observed among control subjects in number and distribution of TH-immunoreactive (IR) perikarya, indicating that antemortem factors may regulate TH expression. Since a large number of TH-IR perikarya were observed in subjects who suffered from somatic illnesses leading to prolonged osmotic or nonosmotic stimulation of vasopressin (VP) release, we suggested that TH expression is related to the activation of VP neurons. The purpose of our study was to apply (1) in situ hybridization for TH mRNA on human PVN and SON to investigate how the previously reported individual differences in TH protein expression are depicted at the transcriptional level and (2) quantitative TH immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization for VP mRNA throughout the dorsolateral part of the SON (dl-SON) in order to elucidate whether indeed expression of TH in neurosecretory nuclei depends on activation of VP neurons. Postmortem formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded hypothalamic sections of 16 control subjects were studied for TH protein and TH and VP mRNAs. For 6 of the above cases, the number of TH-IR neurons and the total VP mRNA levels were estimated throughout the entire dl-SON using an image analysis system. Individual variation was observed in TH mRNA expression which appears to parallel the expression of TH-protein. Using Spearman’s bivariate test, a positive correlation was found between the number of TH-IR- and TH-mRNA-expressing neurons in both PVN and SON (p < 0.01) as well as between the number of TH-IR neurons and the total VP mRNA in the dl-SON (p < 0.05). Our results show (1) that the individual variability in the number of TH-IR neurons within the neurosecretory nuclei might be due to differential expression and/or stability of TH mRNA and (2) that expression of TH-immunoreactivity in human PVN and SON depends on the activation of VP neurons.

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          Most cited references 55

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          The relative importance of premortem acidosis and postmortem interval for human brain gene expression studies: selective mRNA vulnerability and comparison with their encoded proteins.

          To help account for the variable quality and quantity of RNA in human brain, we have studied the effect of premortem (agonal state) and postmortem factors on the detection of poly(A)+mRNA and eight mRNAs. For comparison, the influence of the same factors upon gene products encoded by the mRNAs was studied immunocytochemically or by receptor autoradiography. Brain pH declined with increasing age at death and was related to agonal state severity, but was independent of postmortem interval and the histological presence of hypoxic changes. By linear regression, pH was significantly associated with the abundance of several of the RNAs, but not with poly(A)+mRNA, immunoreactivities, or binding site densities. Postmortem interval had a limited influence upon mRNA and protein products. Freezer storage time showed no effect. Parallel rat brain studies showed no relationship between postmortem interval (0-48 h) and amounts of total RNA, poly(A)+RNA, or two individual mRNAs; however, RNA content was reduced by 40% at 96 h after death. pH is superior to clinical assessments of agonal state or mode of death in predicting mRNA preservation. It provides a simple means to improve human brain gene expression studies. pH is stable after death and during freezer storage and can be measured either in cerebrospinal fluid or in homogenised tissue.
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            Intricate regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase activity and gene expression.

            Tyrosine hydroxylase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Therefore, the regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase enzyme number and intrinsic enzyme activity represents the central means for controlling the synthesis of these important biogenic amines. An intricate scheme has evolved whereby tyrosine hydroxylase activity is modulated by nearly every documented form of regulation. Beginning with the genomic DNA, evidence exists for the transcriptional regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA levels, alternative RNA processing, and the regulation of RNA stability. There is also experimental support for the role of both translational control and enzyme stability in establishing steady-state levels of active tyrosine hydroxylase protein. Finally, mechanisms have been proposed for feedback inhibition of the enzyme by catecholamine products, allosteric modulation of enzyme activity, and phosphorylation-dependent activation of the enzyme by various different kinase systems. Given the growing literature suggesting that different tissues regulate tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA levels and activity in different ways, regulatory mechanisms provide not only redundancy but also diversity in the control of catecholamine biosynthesis.
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              Polydipsia and water intoxication in psychiatric patients: a review of the epidemiological literature.

              Polydipsia among chronic psychiatric patients is poorly understood and underdiagnosed. It may have three stages: simple polydipsia, polydipsia with water intoxication, and physical complications. Epidemiological surveys have used staff reports and polyuria measures to identify polydipsic patients. Water intoxication has been screened by chart review, weight, or serum sodium data. According to these surveys, polydipsia, not explained by medically induced polyuria, may be present in more than 20% of chronic inpatients. Up to 5% of chronic inpatients had episodes of water intoxication although mild cases may have been missed. Single time point surveys show that 29% of polydipsic patients had presented water intoxication. Methodologically limited clinical studies suggest that polydipsia with water intoxication rather than simple polydipsia may be associated with poor prognosis in schizophrenia. Epidemiological surveys found polydipsia with water intoxication to be associated with chronicity, schizophrenia, smoking, some medications, male gender, and white race. New pathophysiological models need to elucidate these findings.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2005
                02 November 2005
                : 81
                : 5
                : 329-338
                aDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Athens, and bUniversity Mental Health Institute, Athens, Greece; cNetherlands’ Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                88760 Neuroendocrinology 2005;81:329–338
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 8, Tables: 2, References: 72, Pages: 10
                Original Paper


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