To study the effects of deltamethrin on tyrosine hydroxylase in nigrostriatum of male rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were daily treated with deltamethrin at 6.25 or 12.5 mg/kg body weight by gavage for 10 days. Then HPLC-fluorescence detection was used to analyze the contents of dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homoranillic acid (HVA) in substantial nigra and striatum. The activities of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were also detected by HPLC-fluorescence detection. TH mRNA or TH protein levels were measured by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry method. The content of DA in striatum was significantly decreased by the treatments, suggesting an inhibition of DA synthesis by deltamethrin. The contents of DA metabolites DOPAC and HVA increased, indicating increased dopamine turnover. Furthermore, deltamethrin significantly decreased the activity, as well as the mRNA and protein levels of TH. These findings reveal a novel aspect of deltamethrin neurotoxicity and suggest tyrosine hydroxylase as a molecular target of deltamethin on dopamine metabolism in the nigrostriatal pathway.
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