Reflex Splanchnic Nerve Stimulation Increases Levels of Carboxypeptidase E mRNA and Enzymatic Activity in the Rat Adrenal Medulla

Lloyd D. Flicker, Ricardo J. Rigual, Emanuel J. Diliberto, O. Humberto Viveros

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Carboxypeptidase E (CPE; EC is a carboxypeptidase B‐like enzyme involved with the biosynthesis of numerous peptide hormones and neurotransmitters, including the enkephalins. Reflex splanchnic stimulation of the rat adrenal medulla, which has previously been found to substantially increase enkephalin mRNA and enkephalin peptide levels, was examined for an influence on CPE mRNA and enzymatic activity. Several hours after insulin‐induced reflex splanchnic stimulation, the levels of CPE activity in rat adrenal medulla are reduced to 40–60% of control. CPE activity returns to the control level 2 days after the treatment and then continues to increase, reaching ˜200% of control 1 week after the treatment. The time course of the changes in CPE activity is different from those of the changes in epinephrine levels and the previously reported changes in enkephalin peptide levels. CPE mRNA is also influenced by the insulin shock, with levels increasing to 155% of the control level after 6 h and 170% after 2 days. The time course of the change in CPE mRNA levels is similar to that previously found for proenkephalin mRNA. However, the magnitude of the change is much different: Proenkephalin mRNA has been reported to increase by 1,600%. The changes in CPE mRNA and enzymatic activity are consistent with the proposal that CPE is not a rate‐limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of enkephalin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1990



  • Carboxypeptidase E
  • Enkephalin biosynthesis
  • Enkephalin convertase
  • Neuropeptide processing.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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