Transiently overexpressed alpha2-adrenoceptors and their control of DNA synthesis in the developing brain.
During brain development, neurotransmitters act as trophic factors controlling the patterns of cell replication and differentiation. Alpha2-adrenoceptors (alpha2ARs) are transiently overexpressed in zones with high mitotic activity and we evaluated whether these receptors are linked to DNA synthesis in the perinatal rat brain. Acute administration of clonidine (2 mg/kg), an alpha2AR agonist, elicited dramatic decreases in DNA synthesis in the forebrain, brainstem, and cerebellum whether given on gestational day (GD) 21, or on postnatal days (PN) 1 or 8. However, alpha2AR blockade elicited by yohimbine (2.5 mg/kg) also resulted in decreased DNA synthesis on GD21 and PN8, albeit to a smaller extent than with clonidine. Yohimbine was able to blunt the effects of clonidine, verifying that both drugs are acting through the same receptor population. Because betaARs are also known to regulate DNA synthesis, we used propranolol (10 mg/kg) blockade of betaARs to evaluate whether the alpha2AR effects were mediated by presynaptic autoreceptors that regulate the release of norepinephrine and consequent betaAR responses; the effects of yohimbine were still discernible in the presence of propranolol. Accordingly, transiently overexpressed alpha2ARs in the developing brain participate in the control of DNA synthesis in a biphasic manner, with promotional actions at low, endogenous levels of stimulation, but inhibitory effects when stimulation is high. Effects on alpha2ARs are likely to contribute to long-term consequences of adrenergic agents used in obstetrics or neurotoxicants that affect adrenergic activity.
Kreider, ML; Seidler, FJ; Cousins, MM; Tate, CA; Slotkin, TA
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