N-methyl-norsalsolinol modulates serotonin metabolism in the rat caudate nucleus: Correlation with behavioural changes

Ansgar Thümen, Anne Behnecke, Fatimunnisa Qadri, Andreas Moser*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


In earlier studies the dihydroxylated tetrahydroisoquinoline derivative 2(N)-methyl-norsalsolinol (NMNorsal) was identified in patients with Parkinson's disease. In the present study, NMNorsal (20 or 40 mg/kg) was given intraperitoneally to rats kept under normal light-dark cycles. Using brain microdialysis technique, serotonin (5-HT), 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (HIAA), dopamine (DA), and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) were determined in the dialysate from caudate nucleus in vivo and from tissue in vitro at various times following NMNorsal administration. Even after high-dose NMNorsal administration (40 mg/kg) and measurements up to 48 h after administration, levels of DA and its metabolite DOPAC were not modified. In contrast to the DA metabolism, 5-HT levels in the dialysate increased to approx. 2-fold during the 48 h following administration of a single high-dose of NMNorsal while HIAA decreased to approx. 50%. These changes of 5-HT and HIAA were nearly identical in the homogenate preparation of the caudate nucleus when compared to the amounts present in the dialysate. During assessment controls and low-dose-treated animals were almost always sleeping. Only high-dose NMNorsal-treated rats were active, with maximum activity after 48 h, however, behavioural activity was clearly different to the classical 5-HT behavioural syndrome. Taken together, increased 5-HT levels in the striatum found in our studies seem to be linked to the behavioural activity induced by high-dose NMNorsal, and NMNorsal appeared to perturb normal diurnal rhythms of spontaneous locomotor activity. The precise mechanism by which NMNorsal acts on 5-HT metabolism and behaviour is, however, unclear and further investigation is required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2003

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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