1-, 4-, 14- and 28-day-old rats were exposed to a hypoxic environment of 5.9, 8.0 or 12.0% O2 during a period of 30 min. In the brain, tyrosine hydroxylase and tryptophan hydroxy-lase activity was studied in vivo by measuring the accumulation of dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), respectively, after inhibition of L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase with NSD 1015. Tyrosine and tryptophan levels in the brain were measured simultaneously. The brain tyrosine and tryptophan levels were generally not influenced either by age or hypoxic levels. Tyrosine and tryptophan hydroxylase activity decreased to about the same extent during the various hypoxic levels at all ages studied. It is concluded that the first, rate-limiting, step in the synthesis of the monoamine neurotransmittors dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA) and 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HT) is affected during moderate as well as severe hypoxia at all stages of development.

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