Background: Nitric oxide is a messenger molecule of the nervous system, which is produced by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase, which may regulate cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels and which has been implicated in the control of neurotransmitter release. PC-12 pheochromocytoma cells differentiate to form neuronal cells in culture when they are exposed to nerve growth factor. The levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate in the cells and their ability to release acetylcholine in response to K+ depolarization are both maximal after eight days of treatment with nerve growth factor. We set out to assess a possible role for nitric oxide in the processes that occur in differentiating PC-12 cells. Results: Nitric oxide synthase is first evident in differentiating PC-12 cells eight days after beginning treatment with nerve growth factor, coinciding with the marked increase in K+-depolarization-induced release of acetylcholine. The release of both acetylcholine and dopamine in response to K+-depolarization is blocked by inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase and by hemoglobin, which binds nitric oxide. Providing l-arginine, a precursor required for nitric oxide synthesis, reverses the effects of the inhibitors. In synaptosomal preparations from the corpus striatum, inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase prevent the release of glutamate in response to the glutamate derivative N-methyl-d-aspartate but not in response to K+-depolarization. Conclusion Nitric oxide may mediate the release of acetylcholine and dopamine in response to K'-depolarization in PC-12 cells and the release of glutamate in response to N-methyl-d-aspartate in striatal synaptosomes. Nitric oxide synthase expression is induced after eight days of treating PC-12 cells with nerve growth factor, coinciding with a marked enhancement of the release of neurotransmitters in response to K+-depolarization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)