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Neuropharmacology. 1999 May;38(5):725-32.

The endozepine ODN stimulates [3H]thymidine incorporation in cultured rat astrocytes.

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  • 1European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP no. 23), INSERM U 413, UA CNRS, University of Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France.


High concentrations of diazepam-binding inhibitor (DBI) mRNA have been detected in astrocytoma, suggesting that DBI-derived peptides may play a role in glial cell proliferation. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of a processing product of DBI, the octadecaneuropeptide ODN, on DNA synthesis in cultured rat astrocytes. At very low concentrations (10(-14) to 10(-11) M), ODN caused a dose-dependent increase of [3H]thymidine incorporation. At higher doses (10(-10) to 10(-5) M), the effect of ODN gradually declined. The central-type benzodiazepine receptor antagonist flumazenil (10(-6) M) completely suppressed the stimulatory action of ODN whereas the peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor ligand, PK11195 (10(-6) M) had no effect. The ODN-induced stimulation of [3H]thymidine incorporation was mimicked by methyl 6,7-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (DMCM). The GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline (10(-4) M) suppressed the effect of both ODN and DMCM on DNA synthesis. Exposure of cultured astrocytes to the specific GABAA agonist 3APS (10(-10) to 10(-4) M) also induced a dose-related increase of [3H]thymidine incorporation. The present study indicates that ODN, acting through central-type benzodiazepine receptors associated with the GABAA receptor complex, stimulates DNA synthesis in rat glial cells. These data provide evidence for an autocrine role of endozepines in the control of glial cell proliferation.

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