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Concept: Catecholamine


Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors are an established treatment for end-of-dose motor fluctuations associated with levodopa therapy in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Current COMT inhibitors carry a high risk for toxic effects to hepatic cells or show moderate improvement. Opicapone was designed to be effective without the adverse effects.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Dopamine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine, Entacapone, Tolcapone


Context: Neuroendocrine and immune stresses imposed by chronic sleep restriction are known to be involved in the harmful cardiovascular effects associated with poor sleep. Objectives: Despite a well-known beneficial effect of napping on alertness, its effects on neuroendocrine stress and immune responses after sleep restriction are largely unknown. Design: A strictly controlled (sleep-wake status, light environment, caloric intake), crossover, randomized design in continuously polysomnography-monitored subjects. Setting: The study was conducted in a laboratory-based study. Participants: The subjects were 11 healthy young men. Intervention: We investigated the effects on neuroendocrine and immune biomarkers of a night of sleep restricted to 2 h followed by a day without naps or with 30 minute morning and afternoon naps, both conditions followed by an ad libitum recovery night starting at 20:00. Main Outcome Measures: Salivary interleukin-6 and urinary catecholamines were assessed throughout the daytime study periods. Results: The increase in norepinephrine values seen at the end of the afternoon after the sleep-restricted night was not present when the subjects had the opportunity to take naps. Interleukin-6 changes observed after sleep deprivation were also normalized after napping. During the recovery day in the no-nap condition, there were increased levels of afternoon epinephrine and dopamine, which was not the case in the nap condition. A recovery night after napping was associated with a reduced amount of slow-wave sleep compared to after the no-nap condition. Conclusions: Our data suggest that napping has stress-releasing and immune effects. Napping could be easily applied in real settings as a countermeasure to the detrimental health consequences of sleep debt.

Concepts: Immune system, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine


The catecholamines dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) are neurotransmitters and hormones that mediate stress responses in tissues and plasma. The expression of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) is responsive to stress and is high in tissues rich in catecholamines. We recently reported that APP is a ferroxidase, subsuming, in neurons and other cells, the iron-export activity that ceruloplasmin mediates in glia. Here we report that, like ceruloplasmin, APP also oxidizes synthetic amines and catecholamines catalytically (K(m) NE=0.27 mM), through a site encompassing its ferroxidase motif and selectively inhibited by zinc. Accordingly, APP knockout mice have significantly higher levels of DA, NE and E in brain, plasma and select tissues. Consistent with this, these animals have increased resting heart rate and systolic blood pressure as well as suppressed prolactin and lymphocyte levels. These findings support a role for APP in extracellular catecholaminergic clearance.

Concepts: Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Monoamine oxidase, Tyrosine, L-DOPA, Catecholamine


Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is seen, though rarely, in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine. Stress cardiomyopathy is most likely to occur in middle-aged women. The underlying etiology is believed to be related to catecholamine release in periods of intense stress. Catecholamines administered exogenously, and those secreted by neuroendocrine tumors (e.g., pheochromocytoma) or during anaphylaxis have been reported to cause apical ballooning syndrome, or takotsubo syndrome. However, reverse takotsubo stress cardiomyopathy is rarely seen or reported in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine.

Concepts: Cardiomyopathy, Neuroendocrine tumor, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Cardiovascular diseases, Pheochromocytoma, Catecholamine, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy


A dimeric Cu(II) complex [Cu(μ(2)-hep)(hep-H)](2)·2ClO(4) (1) containing bidentate (hep-H=2-(2-hydroxyethyl)pyridine) ligand was synthesized and characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction studies. Each Cu-ion in 1 is in a distorted square pyramidal geometry. Further 1 along with silver nanoparticles (SNPs) have been used as modifier in the construction of a biomimetic sensor (1-SNP-GCPE) for determining certain catecholamines viz., dopamine (DA), levodopa (l-Dopa), epinephrine (EP) and norepinephrine (NE) using cyclic voltammetry, chronocoulometry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and adsorptive stripping square wave voltammetry (AdSSWV). Finally, the catalytic properties of the sensor were characterized by chronoamperometry. Employing AdSSWV, the calibration curves showed linear response ranging between 10(-6) and 10(-9)M for all the four analytes with detection limits (S/N=3) of 8.52×10(-10)M, 2.41×10(-9)M, 3.96×10(-10)M and 3.54×10(-10)M for DA, l-Dopa, EP and NE respectively. The lifetime of the biomimetic sensor was 3 months at room temperature. The prepared modified electrode shows several advantages such as simple preparation method, high sensitivity, high stability, ease of preparation and regeneration of the electrode surface by simple polishing along with excellent reproducibility. The method has been applied for the selective and precise analysis of DA, l-Dopa, EP and NE in pharmaceutical formulations, urine and blood serum samples.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, L-DOPA, Catecholamine, Catecholamines


Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT, EC plays a central role in the inactivation of neurotransmitters sharing a catecholic motif by transferring a methyl group from AdoMet. Methylation of the meta-hydroxyl is much more common than that of the para-hydroxyl in many COMT’s substrates, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Our experimental data showed that quercetin preferred meta-methylation but luteolin favored a para-methylation. To elucidate the mechanism for different preferences of methylations of quercetin and luteolin, we performed theoretical investigation on the different regioseletivities of COMT-catalyzed methylations for quercetin and luteolin by a combined approaches of MD simulations, ab initio calculations, and QM/MM computations. The ab initio calculation results showed that both quercetin and luteolin have more negative charge distributions on meta-O atom than para-O atom, which indicated that meta-O preferred SN2 reaction for their methylation. Our QM/MM computations also confirmed that these two flavonoids have lower reaction energetic barriers for COMT-catalyzed meta-O- methylation than para-O-methylation. On the other hand, our binding free energy computation results indicated that quercetin has more stable binding mode for meta-O-methylation than para-O-methylation but luteolin has more stable binding mode for para-O-methylation than meta-O-methylation. We gave a comprehensive explanation considering both thermodynamics and reaction kinetics aspects and discussed the protein-inhibitor interactions as well as the O-methylation mechanism in our present work.

Concepts: Computational chemistry, Ab initio, Force, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine


Regular exercise is shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects, yet the effects of acute exercise on cellular inflammatory responses and its mechanisms remain unclear. We tested the hypothesis that sympathoadrenergic activation during a single bout of exercise has a suppressive effect on monocytic cytokine production mediated by β2 adrenergic receptors (AR). We investigated the effects of 20-minute moderate (65-70% VO2 peak) exercise-induced catecholamine production on LPS-stimulated TNF production by monocytes in 47 healthy volunteers and determined AR subtypes involved. We also examined the effects of β-agonist isoproterenol and endogenous β- and α-agonists epinephrine and norepinephrine, and receptor-subtype-specific β- and α-antagonists on TNF production in a series of in vitro investigations. LPS-stimulated TNF production was determined intracellularly by flow cytometry in peripheral blood monocytes. Percent TNF-producing monocytes and per-cell TNF production with and without LPS was suppressed by exercise with moderate to large effects, which was reversed by a β2-AR antagonist in spite that plasma TNF levels did not change. This inhibitory response in TNF production by exercise was mirrored by β-AR agonists in an agonist-specific and dose-dependent manner in vitro: similar isoproterenol (EC50= 2.1-4.7x10(-10) M) and epinephrine (EC50= 4.4-10x10(-10) M) potency and higher norepinephrine concentrations (EC50= 2.6-4.3x10(-8) M) needed for the effects. Importantly, epinephrine levels observed during acute exercise in vivo significantly inhibited TNF production in vitro. The inhibitory effect of the AR agonists was abolished by β2-, but not by β1- or α-AR blockers. We conclude that the downregulation of monocytic TNF production during acute exercise is mediated by elevated epinephrine levels through β2-ARs. Decreased inflammatory responses during acute exercise may protect against chronic conditions with low-grade inflammation.

Concepts: Inflammation, Monocyte, Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Adrenergic receptor, Beta blocker, Catecholamine


Cognitive problems are one of the main causes of ongoing disability after traumatic brain injury. The heterogeneity of the injuries sustained and the variability of the resulting cognitive deficits makes treating these problems difficult. Identifying the underlying pathology allows a targeted treatment approach aimed at cognitive enhancement. For example, damage to neuromodulatory neurotransmitter systems is common after traumatic brain injury and is an important cause of cognitive impairment. Here, we discuss the evidence implicating disruption of the catecholamines (dopamine and noradrenaline) and review the efficacy of catecholaminergic drugs in treating post-traumatic brain injury cognitive impairments. The response to these therapies is often variable, a likely consequence of the heterogeneous patterns of injury as well as a non-linear relationship between catecholamine levels and cognitive functions. This individual variability means that measuring the structure and function of a person’s catecholaminergic systems is likely to allow more refined therapy. Advanced structural and molecular imaging techniques offer the potential to identify disruption to the catecholaminergic systems and to provide a direct measure of catecholamine levels. In addition, measures of structural and functional connectivity can be used to identify common patterns of injury and to measure the functioning of brain ‘networks’ that are important for normal cognitive functioning. As the catecholamine systems modulate these cognitive networks, these measures could potentially be used to stratify treatment selection and monitor response to treatment in a more sophisticated manner.

Concepts: Brain, Structure, Traumatic brain injury, Cognition, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Catecholamine


Adaptive thermogenesis is the process of heat generation in response to cold stimulation. It is under the control of the sympathetic nervous system, whose chief effector is the catecholamine norepinephrine (NE). NE enhances thermogenesis through β3-adrenergic receptors to activate brown adipose tissue and by ‘browning’ white adipose tissue. Recent studies have reported that alternative activation of macrophages in response to interleukin (IL)-4 stimulation induces the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), a key enzyme in the catecholamine synthesis pathway, and that this activation provides an alternative source of locally produced catecholamines during the thermogenic process. Here we report that the deletion of Th in hematopoietic cells of adult mice neither alters energy expenditure upon cold exposure nor reduces browning in inguinal adipose tissue. Bone marrow-derived macrophages did not release NE in response to stimulation with IL-4, and conditioned media from IL-4-stimulated macrophages failed to induce expression of thermogenic genes, such as uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1), in adipocytes cultured with the conditioned media. Furthermore, chronic treatment with IL-4 failed to increase energy expenditure in wild-type, Ucp1(-/-) and interleukin-4 receptor-α double-negative (Il4ra(-/-)) mice. In agreement with these findings, adipose-tissue-resident macrophages did not express TH. Thus, we conclude that alternatively activated macrophages do not synthesize relevant amounts of catecholamines, and hence, are not likely to have a direct role in adipocyte metabolism or adaptive thermogenesis.

Concepts: Adipose tissue, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Brown adipose tissue, Thermogenesis, Catecholamine, Uncoupling protein


A recent wave of studies-more than 100 conducted over the last decade-has shown that exerting effort at controlling impulses or behavioral tendencies leaves a person depleted and less able to engage in subsequent rounds of regulation. Regulatory depletion is thought to play an important role in everyday problems (e.g., excessive spending, overeating) as well as psychiatric conditions, but its neurophysiological basis is poorly understood. Using a placebo-controlled, double-blind design, we demonstrated that the psychostimulant methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin), a catecholamine reuptake blocker that increases dopamine and norepinephrine at the synaptic cleft, fully blocks effort-induced depletion of regulatory control. Spectral analysis of trial-by-trial reaction times revealed specificity of methylphenidate effects on regulatory depletion in the slow-4 frequency band. This band is associated with the operation of resting-state brain networks that produce mind wandering, which raises potential connections between our results and recent brain-network-based models of control over attention.

Concepts: Psychology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Methylphenidate, Amphetamine, Tricyclic antidepressant, Catecholamine