Purine nucleosides and nucleotides stimulate proliferation of a wide range of cell types Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Presumptive astrocytes isolated from 10-day white Leghorn chick embryos, Factor VIII-positive human brain capillary endothelial cells, meningeal fibroblasts from 10-day chick embryos, Swiss mouse 3T3 cells, and human astrocytoma cell lines, SKMG-1 and U373, were rendered quiescent when placed in culture medium that contained 0 or 0.2% serum for 48 h; their proliferation was markedly reduced and they incorporated [3H]thymidine at a low rate. [3H]Thymidine incorporation and cell proliferation were induced in all types of cells by addition of guanosine, GMP, GDP, GTP, and to a lesser extent, adenosine, AMP, ADP or ATP to the culture medium. The stimulation of proliferation by adenosine and guanosine was abolished by 1,3-dipropyl-7-methylxanthine (DPMX), an adenosine A2 receptor antagonist, but not by 1,3-dipropyl-8-(2-amino-4-chorophenyl)xanthine (PACPX), an A1 antagonist. Stimulation of proliferation by the nucleotides was not abolished by either DPMX or PACPX. The P2 receptor agonists, alpha, beta-methyleneATP and 2-methylthioATP, also stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation into the cells with peak activity at approximately 3.5 and 0.03 nM, respectively. These data imply that adenosine and guanosine stimulate proliferation of these cell types through activation of an adenosine A2 receptor, and the stimulation of cell proliferation by the nucleotides may be due to the activation of purinergic P2y receptors. As the primary cultures grew older their growth rate slowed. The capacity of the purine nucleosides and nucleotides to stimulate their growth diminished concomitantly. The 3T3 cells showed neither decreased growth with increased passages nor reduced response to the purines. In contrast, although the doubling time of the immortalized human astrocytoma cell lines SKMG-1 and U373 remained constant, the responsiveness to purinergic stimulation of the U373 cells decreased but that of the SKMG-1 did not. These data are compatible with a decrease in the number, or the ligand-binding affinity of the purinergic receptors, or a decreased coupling of purinergic receptors to intracellular mediators in primary cells aged in tissue culture.


  • Rathbone, Michel Piers
  • Middlemiss, Pamela J
  • Gysbers, John W
  • DeForge, Susan
  • Costello, Penny
  • Maestro, Rolando F

publication date

  • August 1992