Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract: Stimulation of astrocytes with the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate leads to the formation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and the subsequent increase of intracellular calcium content. Astrocytes express both ionotropic receptors and metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors, of which mGlu5 receptors are probably involved in glutamate-induced calcium signaling. The mGlu5 receptor occurs as two splice variants, mGlu5a and mGlu5b, but it was hitherto unknown which splice variant is responsible for the glutamate-induced effects in astrocytes. We report here that both mRNAs encoding mGlu5 receptor splice variants are expressed by cultured astrocytes. The expression of mGlu5a receptor mRNA is much stronger than that of mGlu5b receptor mRNA in these cells. In situ hybridization experiments reveal neuronal expression of mGlu5b receptor mRNA in adult rat forebrain but a strong neuronal expression of mGlu5a mRNA only in olfactory bulb. Signals for mGlu5a receptor mRNA in the rest of the brain were diffuse and weak but consistently above background. Activation of mGlu5 receptors in astrocytes yields increases in inositol phosphate production and transient calcium responses. It is surprising that the rank order of agonist potency [quisqualate 〉 (2S, 1′S,2′S)-2-(carboxycyclopropyl)glycine = trans-(1S,3R)-1-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (1S, 3R-ACPD) 〉 glutamate] differs from that reported for recombinantly expressed mGlu5a receptors. The expression of mGlu5a receptor mRNA and the occurrence of 1S, 3R-ACPD-induced calcium signaling were found also in cultured microglia, indicating for the first time expression of mGlu5a receptors in these macrophage-like cells.
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