Septal Tryptophan-5-Hydroxylase: Divergent Response to Raphe Lesions and Parachlorophenylalanine

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4127, pp. 869-871
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4127.869


A soluble form of tryptophan-5-hydroxylase activity was found to be present in areas rich in serotonergic terminals (colliculi, hippocampus, septal area, and remaining telencephalon) as well as in brainstem, an area rich in cell bodies. The enzymatic activity in all brain regions, except the septal area, was inhibited to varying degrees following administration of parachlorophenylalanine. Destruction of the raphe nuclei in the midbrain led to a large and comparable decrease in both serotonin content and tryptophan hydroxylase activity of the hippocampus. In contrast, these lesions did not significantly affect the enzymatic activity of the septal area although the serotonin content was decreased by 72 percent. These findings suggest that the major portion of the tryptophan hydroxylase activity of the septal area is uniquely different from that found in other telencephalic areas in that it is not localized in serotonergic nerve terminals nor is it inhibited by parachlorophenylalanine.