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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Developmental variations of tyrosine hydroxylase and acetylcholinesterase in embryonic and post-hatching chicken sympathetic ganglia.

The developmental variations of tyrosine hydroxylase ( TH) and of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) were studied in embryonic and post-hatching chicken sympathetic ganglia. Different levels of TH activity were found in two different flocks of White Leghorn chicken, which are probably dependent on genetic differences. These enzymatic differences, however, do not become apparent before hatching and may indicate a combined effect of genetic variation and functional demands. During the period of incubation, TH activity is characterized by a pronounced and steady increase from the twelfth day of incubation up to day 2 after hatching. This corresponds to a period of intense maturation of the sympathetic neuron. In the period following hatching, the 'fourth day fall phenomenon' previously described by us for DOPA decarboxylase (DDC), dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), and monoamine oxidase (MAO) is not seen in the TH curve. Instead, TH activity tends to remain constant between days 2 and 14 after hatching (ah). Both ganglionic protein and weight remain constant in this period, indicating a phase of general pause in protein synthesis. AChE activity increases steadily from the eighth until the twenty-first day of incubation. A sudden and significant drop in AChE activity was found at day 2 ah followed by a period of rapid increase at day 3 ah and a levelling of activity up to day 30 ah. Comparing the present variations to those observed in our previous studies on DBH, a temporal relationship between TH and DBH activity is observed during the phases of synaptogenesis and maturation but not during the phase of intense functional activity. Our results strongly suggest that before hatching in chick embryo sympathetic ganglia, the cholinergic presynaptic terminals play a role in regulating the development of the adrenergic neurons. In the period following hatching, however, the DBH and TH levels in cell bodies seem to be principally regulated by the functional activity. This results in depletion of DBH, but not TH, through liberation along with the neurotransmitter at the periphery. Depletion of DBH at the terminals may result in increased transport and thereby depletion in the cell body. This mechanism is probably responsible for the difference in the profiles of activity of DBH and TH in the cell bodies observed in the first week after hatching.[1]


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