Brain research

Effect of brain monoamine precursors on stress-induced behavioral and neurochemical changes in aged mice.

PMID 6201238


Male CF-1 mice aged 22 months showed approximately the same level of motor activity and aggressive behavior as 3-month-old mice under control (no stress) conditions, or 45 min following cold swim stress. Increasing brain catecholamine activity by dietary L-tyrosine treatment had no effect on these two age groups either under control conditions or after stress. In contrast, 30-month-old mice showed lower motor activity under control conditions which was raised significantly by supplementation of the diet with L-tyrosine. However, marked reductions in activity and aggression following stress were observed in the 30-month-old animals and these deficits were not reversed by L-tyrosine treatment prior to stress. Reduction in motor activity was greatest in stressed, 30-month-old mice on L-tyrosine supplemented diets. Compared to 3-month-old mice, the 30-month-old animals had lower brain tyrosine following dietary L-tyrosine treatment, lower brain tryptophan, norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA) and DOPAC, but higher HVA, serotonin (5-HT) and 5-HIAA levels. Under both control (no stress) and stress conditions, L-tyrosine pretreatment decreased brain 5-HT in the young animals, but increased 5-HT in the old mice. After stress the 30-month-old animals evidenced only slight increases in levels of blood corticosterone. Brain tyrosine was reduced by stress in the young animals but increased by stress in the old animals. Stress-induced decreases in brain NE and increases in serotonin and 5-HIAA levels were observed in both age groups. These results are consistent with hypotheses concerning age-related alterations in brain monoamine functions and adrenocortical control mechanisms.