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FEBS Lett. 1997 May 19;408(2):131-4.

Behaviour of nitric oxide synthase in rat cerebellar granule cells differentiating in culture.

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Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Medical Faculty, University of Milan, Italy.


The possible relation between nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and neural differentiation was investigated using primary cultures of rat cerebellar granule cells differentiating in culture. NOS activity was measured in the cytosolic and particulate fractions obtained from cell homogenate. In the experimental conditions used the optimal pH for NOS activity was about 6.4, the activity being about 3-fold higher than at pH 7.4. Cerebellar granule cell differentiation was associated with marked increases in NOS activity. In undifferentiated cells the enzyme was almost evenly distributed between the cytosolic and particulate fractions, during differentiation there was a 12-fold increase in activity in the cytosolic enzyme and a 3-fold increase in the particulate one. This indicates a marked preferential enrichment of the cytosolic enzyme during differentiation. Cerebellar granule cells produced and released NO in the culture medium; NO formation being markedly higher in differentiated cells (7-12 DIC) than in undifferentiated (2-3 DIC) ones. These data demonstrate a relationship between NOS expression and NO production and the differentiation of cerebellar granule cells, supporting the notion that NO may play a role in this process.

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