Abstract— A study has been made of the effect of a single intraperitoneal dose of l-DOPA on the in vivo metabolism of [14C]leucine and [14C]lysine by the brain, and on their uptake into brain protein. Administration of 500 mg DOPA/kg to 40-g rats raised the concentrations of several free amino acids; the only amino acid which underwent a statistically significant increment was alanine. Intracisternally-injected [U-14C]leucine was rapidly metabolized to other labelled compounds; DOPA administration did not influence significantly the rate of its metabolism. No similar metabolic change was observed after administering [U-14C]lysine intracisternally.

Incorporation of [14C]leucine and [14C]lysine into total brain protein was significantly reduced 45 min after DOPA administration. There was also depression of the uptake of labelled amino acid into a supernatant fraction, obtained by high speed centrifugation of the brain homogenate, and into brain microtubular protein (tubulin). Reduced amino-acid incorporation into brain proteins observed 45 min after l-DOPA injection coincided with extensive disaggregation of brain polyribosomes. At 120 min after DOPA treatment, disaggregation was no longer significant and there was a smaller depression in labelled amino aicd incorporation, which disappeared completely 240 min after l-DOPA injection. It is concluded that disaggregation of brain polysomes following DOPA treatment is an accurate reflection of a change in the intensity of brain protein synthesis in vivo.