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Int J Dev Neurosci. 1995 Dec;13(8):825-34.

Neuronal and non-neuronal catechol-O-methyltransferase in primary cultures of rat brain cells.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Previous biochemical and histochemical studies have suggested that catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a predominantly glial enzyme in the brain. The aim of this work was to study its localization and molecular forms in primary cultures, where cell types can be easily distinguished with specific markers, COMT immunoreactivity was studied in primary astrocytic cultures from newborn rat cerebral cortex, and in neuronal cultures from rat brain from 18-day-old rat embryos using antisera against rat recombinant COMT made in guinea pig. Double-staining studies with specific cell markers to distinguish astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes were performed. COMT immunoreactivity colocalized with a specific oligodendrocyte marker galactocerebroside in cells displaying oligodendrocyte morphology, flat cells displaying type-1 astrocyte morphology and glial fibrillary acidic protein, in branched cells displaying type-2 astrocyte morphology and in cell bodies of neurons, the processes of which displayed neurofilament immunoreactivity. Western blots detected both soluble 24 kDa and membrane-bound 28-kDa COMT proteins in neuronal and astrocyte cultures. The results suggest that COMT is synthesized by cultured astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons.

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