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J Neurochem. 1994 Mar;62(3):1231-4.

The production of arachidonic acid can account for calcium channel activation in the second messenger pathway underlying neurite outgrowth stimulated by NCAM, N-cadherin, and L1.

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Department of Experimental Pathology, UMDS, Guy's Hospital, London, England.


We have used monolayers of control 3T3 fibroblasts and 3T3 fibroblasts expressing transfected cell adhesion molecules (CAMs)--NCAM, N-cadherin, and L1--as a culture substrate for cerebellar neurones. The transfected CAMs promote neurite outgrowth by activating a second messenger pathway that culminates in calcium influx into neurones through N- and L-type calcium channels. We show that the same neurite outgrowth response can be directly induced by arachidonic acid (10 microM) and that this response can be inhibited by N- and L-type calcium channel antagonists. In cells, arachidonic acid can be generated by phospholipase A2 or by the sequential activities of a phospholipase C (to generate diacylglycerol) and diacylglycerol lipase. In the present study we show the neurite outgrowth stimulated by CAMs (but not by various other agents) can be abolished by an inhibitor of diacylglycerol lipase acting at a site upstream from calcium channel activation. The results suggest that arachidonic acid and/or one of its metabolites is the second messenger that activates calcium channels in the CAM signalling pathway leading to axonal growth, and this is supported by recent evidence that shows the same concentrations of arachidonic acid can increase voltage-dependent calcium currents in cardiac myocytes.

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