1. Rats (4 weeks old) were made hypothyroid by treatment with propylthiouracil and a low-iodine diet for a further period of 4 weeks. Synaptosomal membranes, myelin and 105,000 g soluble fractions were obtained from six regions of the brain. 2. Hypothyroidism resulted in 2-5-fold increases in membrane-bound 5′-nucleotidase activity in synaptosomal fractions obtained from cerebellum, cortex, striatum and hippocampus. By contrast, myelin 5′-nucleotidase activity was slightly increased only in the medulla oblongata. 3. Hypothyroidism did not change adenosine deaminase activity, but decreased adenosine kinase activity by approx. 40% in soluble fractions obtained from cerebellum, hippocampus, striatum and hypothalamus. 4. It is suggested that these changes in hypothyroidism, in particular the increases in 5′-nucleotidase activity, could enhance the neuromodulatory effect of adenosine to decrease neurotransmitter release.

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