Tissue distribution and metabolism of guanosine in rats following intraperitoneal injection.
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Guanosine has long been known as an endogenous purine nucleoside deeply involved in the modulation of several intracellular processes, especially G-protein activity. More recently, it has been reported to act as an extracellular signaling molecule released from neurons and, more markedly, from astrocytes either in basal conditions or after different kinds of stimulation including hypoxia. Moreover, in vivo studies have shown that guanosine plays an important role as both a neuroprotective and neurotrophic agent in the central nervous system. Specific high-affinity binding sites for this nucleoside have been found on membrane preparations from rat brain. The present study was undertaken to investigate the distribution and metabolic profiles of guanosine after administering the nucleoside to gain a better understanding of the biological effects of this potential drug candidate. Rats were given an intraperitonal (i.p.) injection of 2, 4, 8 or 16 mg/kg of guanosine combined with 0.05% of [3H]guanosine. Plasma samples were collected 7.5, 15, 30, 60 and 90 min after the guanosine-mixture administration and analyzed by either a liquid scintillation counter or by HPLC connected to a UV and to an on-line radiochemical detector to measure the levels of guanosine and its metabolic products guanine, xanthine and uric acid. The levels of guanosine, guanine and xanthine were also measured in brain, lung, heart, kidney and liver tissue homogenates at the defined time points after the injection of 8 mg/kg of the guanosine-mixture. We found that the levels of radioactivity in plasma increased linearly in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Guanosine was widely distributed in all tissues examined in the present study, at almost twice its usual levels. In addition, guanine levels dramatically increased in all the organs. Interestingly, enzymatic analysis of the plasma samples showed the presence of a soluble purine nucleoside phosphorylase, a key enzyme in the purine salvage pathway and nucleoside catabolism. Since guanosine has been shown to be neuroprotective and astrocytes have been reported to play critical roles in mediating neuronal survival and functions in different neurodegenerative disorders, we also performed uptake and release.
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