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Intracerebral dialysis was used with a specifically designed HPLC with electrochemical detection assay to monitor extracellular levels of endogenous 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethylamine (dopamine, DA) and its major metabolites, dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA), in brain regions of the halothane-anesthetized rat. Significant amounts of DA, DOPAC, and HVA were detected in control perfusates collected from striatum and n. accumbens whereas the medial prefrontal cortex showed lower monoamine levels. The ratio of DA in perfusate to DA in whole tissue suggests that in f. cortex, compared to n. accumbens and striatum, there is a greater amount of DA in the extracellular space relative to the intraneuronal DA content. The DOPAC/HVA ratio in control perfusates varied between regions in accordance with whole tissue measurements. This ratio was highest in n. accumbens and lowest in f. cortex. The monoamine oxidase inhibitor pargyline (100 mg/kg i.p.) caused an exponential decline in DOPAC, but not of HVA, in regional perfusates, an effect that was associated with an increase in DA. The data indicated a higher turnover of extracellular DOPAC in n. accumbens than in striatum and the lowest DOPAC turnover in f. cortex. The rate of decline in extracellular DA metabolite levels was slow compared to whole tissue measurements. In the perfusates there was no statistical correlation between basal amounts of DA in the perfusates and DOPAC and HVA levels or DOPAC turnover for any of the areas, indicating that measurement of DA metabolism in the brain under basal conditions does not provide a good index of DA release. In summary, this study shows clear regional differences in basal DA release and metabolite levels, metabolite patterns, and DOPAC turnover rates in rat brain in vivo.


Journal article


J Neurochem

Publication Date





113 - 122


3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid, Animals, Biogenic Amines, Brain, Dialysis, Dopamine, Homovanillic Acid, Male, Pargyline, Perfusion, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Tissue Distribution