2006 Volume 29 Issue 2 Pages 202-205
Catecholamines (CAs) are important hormones in regulating blood pressure both in centrally and peripheral sympathetic nerve endings. Production of CAs, release and inactivation are three components to regulate CAs level. We have reported that the inactivation of CAs by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) in the liver is important in high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). In the present study, we investigated central role of COMT in hypertension. We investigated COMT activities in cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, brain stem, hypophysis, and hypothalamus of SHR and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. COMT activities were assessed by measuring normetanephrine with the use of norepinephrine as an endogenous substrate. Membrane-bound COMT activities in cerebral cortex were significantly reduced in SHR (19.1±1.8 pmol/min/mg protein) compared with WKY rats (25.0±3.3 pmol/min/mg protein). The ratio of concentrations of normetanephrine/norepinephrine in cerebral cortex was also lower in SHR than in WKY rats. Our results suggest that there is an association between MB-COMT in cerebral cortex and blood pressure regulation.