The role of cyclic AMP in the regulation of hepatic ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity in the rat was studied in the whole animal and in the perfused organ. Dibutyryl cyclic AMP or butyrate given to intact rats increased ODC activity; this increase was abolished by hypophysectomy 1 h prior to administering ether compound. Administration of 1 mg l-methyl-3-isobutylxanthine (MIX) to intact rats increased ODC activity within 4 hours whereas hypophysectomy 1 h before treatment prevented this increase. No change in hepatic cyclic AMP content was seen in either intact or hypophysectomized rats following MIX. Perfusion with 0.5 mM dibutyryl cyclic AMP decreased ODC activity in isolated livers whereas perfusion with 0.5 mM 8-bromocyclic GMP produced a small increase in ODC activity. These data suggest that the effect of dibutyryl cyclic AMP in intact animals may be a property of the butyrate and that this action as well as the action of MIX may be mediated through the permissive effect of pituitary and/or adrenal hormones. The normal hepatocyte does not increase its ornithine decarboxylase activity after direct exposure to dibutyryl cyclic AMP.
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