Cultured astrocyte proliferation induced by extracellular guanosine involves endogenous adenosine and is raised by the co-presence of microglia.
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Extracellular adenosine (Ado) and ATP stimulate astrocyte proliferation through activation of P(1) and P(2) purinoceptors. Extracellular GTP and guanosine (Guo), however, that do not bind strongly to these receptors, are more effective mitogens than ATP and Ado. Exogenous Guo, like GTP and 5'-guanosine-betagamma-imidotriphosphate (GMP-PNP), dose-dependently stimulated proliferation of rat cultured astrocytes; potency order GMP-PNP > GTP > or = Guo. The mitogenic effect of Guo was independent of the extracellular breakdown of GTP to Guo, because GMP-PNP, a GTP analogue resistant to hydrolysis, was the most mitogenic. In addition to a direct effect on astrocytes, Guo exerts its proliferative activity involving Ado. Exogenous Guo, indeed, enhanced the extracellular levels of endogenous Ado assayed by HPLC in the medium of cultured astrocytes. Culture pretreatment with Ado deaminase (ADA), that converts Ado into inosine, reduced but did not abolish Guo-induced astrocyte proliferation whereas erythro-9-(2-hydroxy-3-nonyl)adenine (EHNA), that inhibits ADA activity, amplified Guo effect. Moreover, the mitogenic activity of Guo was partly inhibited by 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine and alloxazine, antagonists of Ado A(1) and A(2B) receptors, respectively. Also microglia seem to be a target for the action of Guo. Indeed, the mitogenic effect of Guo on astrocytes was: i) increased proportionally to the number of microglial cells present in the astrocyte cultures; ii) amplified when purified cultures of astrocytes were supplemented with conditioned medium deriving from Guo-pretreated microglial cultures. These data indicate that the mitogenic effects exerted by exogenous Guo on rat astrocytes are mediated via complex mechanisms involving extracellular Ado and microglia-derived soluble factors.
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