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Enhanced cGMP-dependent signaling in astrocytes: Novel therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s Disease
Research Day
  • Nyema Woart, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Jessica Winkler, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Handong Ma, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Richard E. White, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Start Date
12-5-2015 1:00 PM
Over 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), with an expected 34% increase in the incidence in this disease over the next decade. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AD. Recent studies have indicated that drugs which increase the levels of cyclic guanosine-3’5’-monophosphate (cGMP) may help preserve learning and memory in AD and enhance cognition in the aging brain; however, the mechanism(s) of how cGMP exerts this beneficial effect is unknown. The present findings now suggest that elevation of cGMP in astrocytes depresses inhibitory potassium currents in these cells to stimulate their protective influence on neuronal activity. Cellular currents were measured directly in rat embryonic astrocytes via the perforated-patch whole-cell patch-clamp technique, and these experiments demonstrated robust outward currents due to potassium efflux. Currents exhibited slowly-activating, non-inactivating kinetics, and were sensitive to inhibition by tetraethylammonium. Thus, these currents were carried predominately by the delayed rectifier potassium (KDR) channel, which is highly expressed in astrocytes. Stimulation of cGMP signaling with sodium nitroprusside (a nitric oxide donor; 10mM; 10min) depressed steady-state outward currents by an average of 34% (n=3). In other cells addition of 8Br-cGMP (500mM; a membrane-permeable cGMP derivative) also depressed these currents (18.4%, n=3). In contrast, neither SNP nor 8Br-cGMP altered rapidly-inactivating, A-type potassium currents significantly. Lastly, elevating cyclic adenosine-3’5’-monophosphate (cAMP) levels in astrocytes with forskolin (10mM, 10 min) also depressed outward currents (17%; n=3). Taken together, these findings suggest a novel cellular transduction mechanism that could contribute to the beneficial effect of NO/cGMP signaling on learning and memory: depression of KDR currents which depolarizes astrocytes, and thereby increases calcium influx via voltage-dependent (L-type) calcium channels. Increased astrocytic calcium levels would in turn excite these cells and enhance release of gliotransmitters to promote normal synaptic neurotransmission. (supported by the Biomedical Sciences Program, GA-PCOM)
Citation Information
Nyema Woart, Jessica Winkler, Handong Ma and Richard E. White. "Enhanced cGMP-dependent signaling in astrocytes: Novel therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s Disease" (2015)
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