1. The increase in the haem saturation of rat liver tryptophan pyrrolase caused by tryptophan administration was previously shown to be associated with a decrease in 5-aminolaevulinate synthase activity. 2. It is now shown that similar reciprocal effects are caused by palmitate and salicylate, both of which increase tryptophan availability to the liver by direct displacement of the serum-protein-bound amino acid. 3. The reciprocal effects on the former two parameters caused by endotoxin and morphine are associated with an increase in liver tryptophan concentration produced by a lipolysis-dependent, non-esterified fatty acid-mediated, displacement of the serum-protein-bound amino acid. 4. All these changes and those caused by another lipolytic agent, theophylline, are prevented by the β-adrenoceptor-blocking agent propranolol and by the opiate-receptor antagonist naloxone, whose anti-lipolytic nature is demonstrated. 5. High correlation coefficients have been obtained for one or more pairs of the following parameters: serum non-esterified fatty acid concentration, free serum tryptophan concentration, liver tryptophan concentration, liver 5-aminolaevulinate synthase activity, liver holo-(tryptophan pyrrolase) activity and the haem saturation of liver tryptophan pyrrolase. 6. It is suggested that liver tryptophan concentration may play an important role in the regulation of 5-aminolaevulinate synthase synthesis, and that the latter may be subject to control by changes in lipid metabolism and may be influenced by pharmacological agents that affect tryptophan disposition. 7. Preliminary evidence suggests that tryptophan may be bound in the liver and that such a possible binding may control its availability for its hepatic functions.
- © 1982 London: The Biochemical Society