Djungarian hamster (P. sungorus) and Roborovskii hamster (P. roborovskii) belong to the same genus of phodopus. Roborovskii hamster shows high locomotor activity and low level of dopamine (DA) in the brain. Administration of L-tyrosine, a precursor of DA, decreases locomotor activity in Roborovskii hamsters. However, the amino acid metabolism in relation to the hyperactivity is not yet well known. In the present study, L- and D-amino acid concentrations in the brain, liver, and plasma in Djungarian and Roborovskii hamsters were investigated during day and night times to explain the possible difference in hyperactivity between them. Most of the examined amino acids were higher in the night time when hamsters are active compared to those in day time. L- and D-tyrosine concentrations were higher in the liver of Roborovskii hamsters than in Djungarian hamsters. Furthermore, brain concentration of D-tyrosine was higher in the Roborovskii than in Djungarian hamsters, but no significant difference was observed for L-tyrosine concentrations between the two species. These results suggest that the conversion of L-tyrosine to D-tyrosine in the brain of Roborovskii hamster may be higher than in Djungarian hamster, which may cause low DA concentration and hyperactivity in Roborovskii hamster. On the other hand, L- and D-serine, which are known as sedative factors, were lower in Roborovskii hamsters than Djungarian hamster. These results suggest that species-specific regulation in amino acid metabolism may contribute to hyperactivity in Roborovskii hamsters.
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