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J Neurochem. 1996 Oct;67(4):1435-47.

Exposure of astrocytes to thrombin reduces levels of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR5.

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Department of Psychobiology, University of California, Irvine, USA.


Thrombin is one of the first regulatory molecules present at sites of CNS trauma or injury. Exposure of neuronal and glial cells to thrombin produces potent morphological as well as cytoprotective and cytotoxic effects, but little is known about how this important modulator affects neurotransmitter signaling. In astrocyte cultures that have been morphologically differentiated by exposure to transforming growth factor-alpha, addition of thrombin induced a retraction of astrocytic processes and suppressed the stimulation of phosphoinositide hydrolysis by the selective metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonist 1-aminocyclopentane-1S,3R-dicarboxylic acid. In addition to the suppression of phosphoinositide hydrolysis, thrombin treatment produced a corresponding reduction in level of mGluR5 mRNA as demonstrated with ribonuclease protection assay and reduced content of mGluR5 receptor protein as seen with western blotting. In contrast, thrombin exposure up-regulated astrocyte beta-actin mRNA levels. A synthetic hexapeptide with a sequence corresponding to the amino-terminus of the thrombin receptor's tethered ligand also mimicked the ability of thrombin to suppress mGluR5 levels and to increase beta-actin mRNA content, suggesting that these effects of thrombin are mediated by proteolytically activated cell surface thrombin receptors. Thrombin's suppressive effect on mGluR5 was resistant to pretreatment with pertussis toxin or various protein kinase and protein phosphatase inhibitors. However, the serine/threonine protein kinase inhibitor H-7 did prevent thrombin-induced reversal of astrocyte stellation and induction of beta-actin mRNA levels, indicating that these effects of thrombin involve a signaling pathway distinct from the one that mediates the suppressive effects of thrombin on mGluR5.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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