The effect of amphetamine sulfate (AMPH) on β-phenylethylamine (PEA) and 3-methoxytyramine (3MT) levels in the rat frontal and cingulate cortices, the nucleus accumbens, and the striatum were evaluated after the administration of either cocaine or reserpine alone and in combination with AMPH. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the neuromodulator properties of PEA on dopamine (DA) release as reflected by 3MT steady-state concentrations. The highest concentration of PEA was found in the nucleus accumbens, followed by the cingulate and frontal cortices, and then the striatum. Time-course effects of the intraperitoneal administration of 5 mg/kg AMPH on PEA and 3MT concentrations were similar but not identical. AMPH at a dosage of 1 mg/kg significantly increased PEA concentration only in the striatum. A dosage of 2.5 mg/kg reserpine, which markedly depressed 3MT levels in all brain regions studied except the striatum, significantly reduced PEA concentrations only in the nucleus accumbens. This dosage of reserpine reduced DA concentrations by more than 80% in all regions examined, but its effects on norepinephrine were less marked. Pretreatment with cocaine (10 mg/kg) or reserpine (2.5 mg/kg) potentiated the effects of 1 mg/kg AMPH on PEA and 3MT levels in the frontal cortex and of 3MT in the striatum. Pretreatment with either 1 mg/kg reserpine (specifically used to partially mobilize DA storage) or cocaine (10 mg/kg) produced quantitative changes in the effects of 5 mg/kg AMPH on PEA and 3MT levels that were region-specific. For example, in contrast to the cortical regions and the nucleus accumbens, the AMPH-induced increase in 3MT was potentiated in the striatum. On the other hand, the increase in brain PEA produced by AMPH (5 mg/kg) was not influenced by either increased cytoplasmic DA (as deduced from the effects of 1 mg/kg reserpine pretreatment) or DA uptake inhibition (as deduced from the effect of cocaine pretreatment) in the frontal cortex or the nucleus accumbens. Furthermore, the increase in PEA produced by AMPH (5 mg/kg) in the cingulate cortex and the striatum were abolished and potentiated, respectively, by these drug prerreatments. Our results suggest that although DA release and PEA formation are stimulated by AMPH, these effects appear to involve mechanisms that are not directly related and hence suggest a dissociation between 3MT and PEA formation in the brain. Our work also suggests that PEA is most likely not to be co-released with DA following the administration of AMPH. Therefore, it is concluded that whatever physiological role PEA may play in central synaptic transmission, its effects do not appear to be dependent on DA release.
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