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J Neurochem. 1992 Sep;59(3):897-905.

Induction of nitric oxide synthase in glial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242.


Primary astrocyte cultures, C6 glioma cells, and N18 neuroblastoma cells were assayed for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity with a bioassay of cyclic GMP production in RFL-6 fibroblasts. Treatment of astrocyte cultures for 16-18 h with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced NOS-like activity that was L-arginine and NADPH dependent, Ca2+ independent, and potentiated by superoxide dismutase. Induction was evident after 4 h, was dependent on the dose of LPS, and required protein synthesis. Treatment of astrocyte cultures with leucine methyl ester reduced microglial cell contamination from 7 to 1%, with a loss of 44% of NOS-like activity. C6 cells treated with LPS also showed Ca(2+)-independent and L-arginine-dependent NOS-like activity. N18 cells demonstrated constitutive Ca(2+)-dependent NOS-like activity that was not enhanced by LPS induction. These data indicate that NOS-like activity can be induced in microglia, astrocytes, and a related glioma cell line as it can in numerous other cell types, but not in neuron-like N18 cells.

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