The recent discovery of the enhancer regulation in the mammalian brain brought a different perspective to the brain-organized realization of goal-oriented behavior, which is the quintessence of plastic behavioral descriptions such as drive or motivation. According to this new approach, 'drive' means that special endogenous enhancer substances enhance the impulse-propagation-mediated release of transmitters in a proper population of enhancer-sensitive neurons, and keep these neurons in the state of enhanced excitability until the goal is reached. However, to reach any goal needs the participation of the catecholaminergic machinery, the engine of the brain. We developed a method to detect the specific enhancer effect of synthetic enhancer substances [(-)-deprenyl, (-)-PPAP, (-)-BPAP] by measuring the release of transmitters from freshly isolated selected discrete brain areas (striatum, substantia nigra, tuberculum olfactorium, locus coeruleus, raphe) by the aid of HPLC with electrochemical detection. To test the validity of the working hypothesis that in any form of goal-seeking behavior the catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons work on a higher activity level, we compared the amount of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin released from selected discrete brain areas isolated from the brain of sated and food-deprived rats. Rats were deprived of food for 48 and 72 hours, respectively, and the state of excitability of their catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons in comparison to that of sated rats was measured. We tested the orienting-searching reflex activity of the rats in a special open field, isolated thereafter selected discrete brain areas and measured the release of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin from the proper tissue samples into the organ bath. The orienting-searching reflex activity of the rats increased proportionally to the time elapsed from the last feed and the amount of dopamine released from the striatum, substantia nigra and tuberculum olfactorium, that of norepinephrine released from the locus coeruleus and that of serotonin released from the raphe increased significantly in the hungry rats proportionally to the time of fasting. For example: the amount of dopamine released from the substantia nigra of sated rats (4.62 ± 0.20 nmoles/g wet weight) increased to 5.95 ± 0.37 (P < 0.05) and 10.67 ± 0.44 (P < 0.01) in rats deprived of food for 48 and 72 hours, respectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)