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Life Sci. 2014 Jan 17;94(2):137-44. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Nov 16.

Zinc is released by cultured astrocytes as a gliotransmitter under hypoosmotic stress-loaded conditions and regulates microglial activity.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Biochemistry, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, 5 Nakauchi-cho, Misasagi, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto 607-8414, Japan.
2
Department of Environmental Biochemistry, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, 5 Nakauchi-cho, Misasagi, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto 607-8414, Japan. Electronic address: nagasawa@mb.kyoto-phu.ac.jp.

Abstract

AIM:

Astrocytes contribute to the maintenance of brain homeostasis via the release of gliotransmitters such as ATP and glutamate. Here we examined whether zinc was released from astrocytes under stress-loaded conditions, and was involved in the regulation of microglial activity as a gliotransmitter.

MAIN METHODS:

Hypoosmotic stress was loaded to astrocytes using balanced salt solution prepared to 214-314 mOsmol/L, and then intra- and extra-cellular zinc levels were assessed using Newport Green DCF diacetate (NG) and ICP-MS, respectively. Microglial activation by the astrocytic supernatant was assessed by their morphological changes and poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) polymer accumulation.

KEY FINDINGS:

Exposure of astrocytes to hypoosmotic buffer, increased the extracellular ATP level in osmolarity-dependent manners, indicating a load of hypoosmotic stress. In hypoosmotic stress-loaded astrocytes, there were apparent increases in the intra- and extra-cellular zinc levels. Incubation of microglia in the astrocytic conditioned medium transformed them into the activated "amoeboid" form and induced PAR formation. Administration of an extracellular zinc chelator, CaEDTA, to the astrocytic conditioned medium almost completely prevented the microglial activation. Treatment of astrocytes with an intracellular zinc chelator, TPEN, suppressed the hypoosmotic stress-increased intracellular, but not the extracellular, zinc level, and the increase in the intracellular zinc level was blocked partially by a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, but not by CaEDTA, indicating that the mechanisms underlying the increases in the intra- and extra-cellular zinc levels might be different.

SIGNIFICANCE:

These findings suggest that under hypoosmotic stress-loaded conditions, zinc is released from astrocytes and then plays a primary role in microglial activation as a gliotransmitter.

KEYWORDS:

Astrocyte; Gliotransmitter; Hypoosmotic stress; Zinc

PMID:
24252316
DOI:
10.1016/j.lfs.2013.11.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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