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Keywords:

  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase;
  • Kainic acid;
  • Catechol-amines;
  • Cellular localization;
  • Neurons;
  • Striatum

Abstract: The cellular localization of the two forms of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) was investigated by measuring their activities in rat striatum following unilateral stereotaxic injection of kainic acid, which causes degeneration of striatal neurons followed by proliferation of astroglial cells. Membrane-bound COMT activity was decreased in the lesioned striatum, while soluble COMT activity was increased. There was a statistically significant correlation between the ratio of lesioned to control activity for membrane-bound COMT and the neuronal marker enzyme glutamate decarboxylase. Similarly the increase in soluble COMT activity paralleled that of the astroglial marker enzyme, glutamine synthetase. These results indicate that the Km membrane-bound catechol-O-methyltransferase may be localized predominantly in neurons, whereas the high-Km soluble enzyme is found in glial cells.