Int. J. Dev. Biol. 33: 491 - 493 (1989)
© UPV/EHU Press

Pre- and postnatal aminopeptidase activities in the rat brain.

J M De Gandarias, J Irazusta, E Echevarria, J Mugica and L Casis

Department of Physiology, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Spain.

ABSTRACT Research concerning the functional role of brain peptides is performed, in part, by studying peptidase enzymes which might be involved in brain peptide processing or inactivation. Aminopeptidase (AP) activity has been proposed as a candidate regulator of the degradation of these peptides. In this paper, changes in Lys- and Leu-aminopeptidase activities in rat brain hemispheres, cerebellum and medulla were examined in 20 day fetuses and one day postnatal subjects. Aminopeptidase activities were studied by measuring the rate of hydrolysis of the artificial substrates Lys- and Leu-2-naphthylamides (fluorimetrically detected in triplicate). Both enzyme activities increase from the last fetal stage up to the first day of birth in all the brain areas examined except for the case of Leu-AP activity in the medulla. It is suggested that these activities play a part in the neurochemical changes that take place during rat brain maturation, possibly by regulating the activity of several neuroactive peptides.