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J Mol Neurosci. 1990;2(3):143-53.

Primary cultures of corticostriatal cells from newborn rats: a model to study muscarinic receptor subtypes regulation and function.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Torino, Italy.


In the present work we characterized both the presynaptic and postsynaptic components of cholinergic transmission in a primary culture of corticostriatal neurons prepared from newborn rat brain. This culture preparation contains a small population of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunoreactive neurons, corresponding to approximately 3% of the total cell number, and synthesizes increasing amounts of acetylcholine (ACh) from the third day in vitro (DIV), which reaches a plateau around the 10 day of culture. Muscarinic cholinergic receptors (mAChR), measured by the binding of the muscarinic antagonist [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate ([3H]QNB), are detectable from the fifth DIV and increase linearly during the time of culture. At the twelfth DIV, the density of mAChRs (approximately 600 fmol/mg protein) is comparable to the density of mAChR in adult rat cortex. These receptors are coupled to second messenger systems, since muscarinic agonists inhibit adenylate cyclase activity and stimulate phosphoinositide breakdown with efficacies and potencies similar to those found in adult rat cortex. Moreover, by using the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique, we were able to demonstrate the presence of the m1, m3, and m4 mAChR subtype mRNAs in this neuronal culture at 12 DIV. Our data suggest that corticostriatal neuronal cultures develop in vitro ACh-synthesizing neurons and functionally active cholinergic receptors. This therefore makes them ideally suited to study the development and properties of brain mAChR subtypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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