Rat cultured astrocytes release guanine‐based purines in basal conditions and after hypoxia/hypoglycemia
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Brain ischemia stimulates release from astrocytes of adenine-based purines, particularly adenosine, which is neuroprotective. Guanosine, which has trophic properties that may aid recovery following neurological damage, is present in high local concentrations for several days after focal cerebral ischemia. We investigated whether guanine-based purines, like their adenine-based counterparts, were released from astrocytes and whether their release increased following hypoxia/hypoglycemia. HPLC analysis of culture medium of rat astrocytes showed spontaneous release of endogenous guanine-based purines at a higher rate than their adenine-based counterparts. The concentration of guanosine (approximately 120 nM) and adenosine (approximately 43 nM) in the culture medium remained constant, whereas concentrations of adenine and guanine nucleotides, particularly GMP, and their metabolites increased with time. Exposure of the cultures to hypoxia/hypoglycemia for 30 min increased the extracellular concentration of adenine-based purines by 2.5-fold and of guanine-based purines by 3.5-fold. Following hypoxia/hypoglycemia extracellular adenine nucleotide levels increased further. Adenosine concentration increased, but not proportionally to nucleotide levels. Accumulation of adenosine metabolites indicated it was rapidly metabolized. Conversely, the concentrations of extracellular guanine-based nucleotides remained elevated and the concentration of guanosine continued to increase. These data indicate that astrocytes are a major source of guanine-based purines, the release of which is markedly increased following hypoxia/hypoglycemia, permitting them to exert neurotrophic effects.