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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2006 Feb;24(1):53-60. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Nitric oxide regulates the proliferation of chick embryo retina cells by a cyclic GMP-independent mechanism.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Program of Neuroimmunology, Institute of Biology, Federal Fluminense University, Niterói, RJ 24001-970, Brazil.


Nitric oxide (NO) is an intercellular messenger involved in many physiological and pathological processes of vertebrate and invertebrate animal tissues. In the embryonic chick retina, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and a system for l-arginine transport between neurons and glial cells were described, supporting the idea that nitric oxide is a critical molecule during retinal development. In the present work we show that nitric oxide is a modulator of cell proliferation in chick embryo retina. Mixed cultures of retinal neurons and glial cells were submitted to [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation after drug treatment. Incubation for 24h with the NO donors S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP) or Spermine nitric oxide (SpNO) complex promoted a decrease of approximately 70% of [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation in a dose-dependent manner. SNAP did not increase Lactate dehydrogenase release and its effect was not mimicked by 8-bromo cyclic GMP, or blocked by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazole[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ), indicating that the effect was not due to cell death or mediated by increases of cyclic GMP levels. The inhibition was completely prevented by dithiotreitol (DTT), strongly indicating the participation of an S-nitrosylation mechanism. SNAP blocked the increase of [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation induced by ATP. Using purified cultures of glial cells we showed that the NO donor SNAP produced an inhibition of 50% in cell proliferation and did stimulate ERK1/2 phosphorylation, indicating that the inhibition of this pathway was not involved in its cytostatic effect. [(3)H]-Thymidine autoradiography of mixed cultures showed labeling of oval nuclei of glial flat cells. The injection of eggs with SNAP also did promote an intense inhibition of [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation in retinas from 9-day-old embryos. These data suggest that nitric oxide affects the proliferation of chick embryo retina glial cells in culture or "in vivo" through cyclic GMP and ERK-independent pathways.

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