Key words: Astrocytes
Human cell cultures
Protein kinase C
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. The expression and modulation of mRNA for glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in human glial cells was investigated. Astrocyte cell cultures were isolated from human fetal brains, characterized by immunocytochemistry and maintained in vitro in conditions of high purity; sister cultures were exposed to protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors for 20 min. Total RNA was extracted from the cell pellets, reverse-transcribed into cDNA and amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with primers specific for GDNF. A reverse-transcription/PCR procedure was also performed on mRNA extracted from human fibroblast and lymphocyte cell lines. Human astrocytes grown in the absence of neurons expressed detectable amounts of mRNA for GDNF but no amplification products were observed in fibroblasts and lymphocytes, thus confirming that GDNF production was cell-type specific. After exposure to PKC inhibitors, a dramatic down-regulation of GDNF mRNA was observed in astrocyte cell cultures. Thus, human astrocytes are constitutively capable of producing GDNF, such trophic activity is restricted to neural cells, and PKC plays key roles in signal pathways that regulate the gene activation and production of GDNF.
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