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By Geoffrey Burnstock Ph.D., D.Sc., F.A.A., Marcello Costa (auth.)

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3 Regulation of NA synthesis in adrenergic neurons Although there is both diurnal and seasonal variation in NA content of tissues in some species (Axelrod, 1971; von Euler, 1971), the levels ofNA in adrenergic neurons are remarkably constant under physiological conditions. These are maintained by a balance between rates of synthesis and utilization (see Udenfriend, 1968; Weiner, 1970). The rate ofNA synthesis in adrenergic nerves can be increased about five times by nerve activity (Gordon, Reid, Sjoerdsma & Udenfriend, 1966; Gordon, Spector, Sjoerdsma & Udenfriend, 1966; Roth, Stjame & von Euler, 1967a, b; Austin, Livett & Chubb, 1967; Weiner & Rabadjija, 1968a, b; Axelrod, 1972).

Dopa-decarboxylase activity is not altered by increased sympathetic activity (Weiner & Rabadjija, 1968a; Black, Hendry & Iversen, 1971a). D~H shows an initial increase in activity in the cell bodies and a slight decrease in activity in the terminals; the level of D~H increases in the terminals only after several hours (Molinoff, Brimijoin, Weinshilboum & Axelrod, 1970). The increase in the cell bodies continues for several days after return of sympathetic activity to basal levels (Molinoff, Brimijoin, Weinshilboum & Axelrod, 1970; Thoenen, Angeletti, Levi-Montalcini & Kettler, 1971; Thoenen, 1970).

The last few varicosities of a fibre usually become free of their Schwann cell investment (Merrillees, 1968; Verity & Bevan, 1968). Plate 7 shows the varicose appearance of the terminal part of the adrenergic axon. 2). m diameter) of the membrane of varicosities in cholinergic nerves are thickened and associated with clusters of vesicles, suggesting, by analogy with other syn2I ADRENERGIC NEURONS apses that they may represent transmitter release sites (McMahan & Kuffier, 1971). Varicosities show considerable variation in the number of adrenergic vesicles they contain.

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