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J Neuroendocrinol. 2001 Aug;13(8):695-705.

Nitric oxide directly activates GABA(A) receptor function through a cGMP/protein kinase-independent pathway in frog pituitary melanotrophs.

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European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP 23), Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, INSERM U413, UA CNRS, University of Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France.


The direct effects of nitric oxide (NO) donors and sulfhydryl-modifying agents on the GABA(A) receptor function were examined by perforated patch, whole-cell and single channel recordings in cultured frog melanotrophs. In amphotericin B-perforated cells incubated with the soluble guanylyl cyclase inhibitors LY 83583 and ODQ (10-4 M each), the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) (10(-3) M) reversibly increased the current evoked by GABA (5 x 10(-6) M). In the whole-cell configuration, internal application of the oxidizing agent H2O2 (0.05%) potentiated the GABA-evoked current while the reducing agent 2-mercaptoethanol (5 x 10(-3) M) slightly decreased the current amplitude. In inside-out patches, GABA (2 x 10(-7) M) triggered single channel bursts of openings. Incubation with the NO donors SNP or DEA/NO (10(-4) M each) enhanced the open probability of the GABA(A) receptor channel but did not modify the chloride reversal potential and did not affect the conductance states. The oxidizing agents H2O2 (0.05%) or DTNB (10-4 M) mimicked the stimulatory effect of the NO donors on the open probability while the reducing compounds 2-mercaptoethanol (5 x 10(-3) M) or DTT (10(-4) M) markedly attenuated the channel activity. Potentiation of the GABA-induced single channel activity by SNP or H2O2 was blocked by 2-mercaptoethanol. Similarly, the potentiating effect produced by DEA/NO or DTNB on the open probability was reversed by DTT. In outside-out patches, incubation with SNP also significantly enhanced the open probability of single channels activated by GABA (10(-6) M). These data indicate that, in frog pituitary melanotrophs, NO potentiates the GABA-evoked current independently of the cGMP/protein kinase pathway. The effect of NO can be accounted for by S-nitrosylation/oxidation of thiol groups either directly on the GABA(A) receptor subunits or on a regulatory protein tightly associated with the GABA(A) receptor.

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