Adenosine and its nucleotides stimulate proliferation of chick astrocytes and human astrocytoma cells
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Aqueous extracts of the brains of 18-day-old white Leghorn chicken embryos contain several substances that stimulate proliferation of primary cultures of chick brain astrocytes. Most of the mitogens are peptides. Purification of one mitogenic fraction was obtained by centrifugation, passage through Amicon Diaflo membranes of nominal molecular weight cutoffs 30, 1 and 0.5 kDa, ion exchange chromatography and reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) using a Deltapak C18 column. The mitogenic fraction contained no amino acids. On the basis of its behaviour on thin layer chromatography, its ultraviolet absorption spectrum, its 1H and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectra and its behaviour on positive and negative ion fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry, the mitogenic material was identified as adenosine-5'-monophosphate (AMP). Other adenosine compounds including adenosine, ADP and ATP also stimulated proliferation of and [3H]leucine incorporation into primary cultures of astrocytes. Nitrobenzylthyioinosine (NBTI), an inhibitor of nucleoside transport, did not prevent the stimulation of [3H]leucine incorporation into cultured astrocytes. Polyadenylic acid (Poly A), that mimics the effect of adenosine at adenosine receptors, also stimulated proliferation of the astrocytes. The effects of adenosine and Poly A were not inhibited by 1,3-dipropyl-8-(2-amino-4-chlorophenyl)xanthine (PACPX) but were inhibited by 1,3-dipropyl-7-methyl-xanthine (DPMX), indicating that adenosine and Poly A acted at the cell surface, likely through adenosine A2 receptors. The stimulatory effect of ATP was biphasic. The proliferative effect of low, but not of high, concentrations of ATP were abolished by DPMX. The purinergic P2 receptor agonist 2-methylthioATP and, at higher concentrations, the P2y agonist, alpha,beta-methyleneATP also stimulated incorporation of [3H]thymidine. These data indicate that high concentrations of ATP stimulate cell proliferation through at a P2, possibly a P2y receptor. These results have considerable biological significance. After brain injury, or when cells in brain die or become hypoxic, nucleotides and nucleosides are released from the cells. Their extracellular concentrations can exceed those required to stimulate astrocyte proliferation in vitro. Therefore they may be partly responsible for gliotic changes following cell death in brain.
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