The synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) and nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) were studied in a C6 glioma cell line by Northern blot hybridization. In responseto a glutamate agonist N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA), NGF mRNA increased by up 2-fold after 4-12 h of culture. The non-NMDA receptor agonists, quisqualate and kainate, did not induce any increase of NGF mRNA, and kainate actually produced a decrease. The increase in NGF mRNA in response to NMDA was dose-dependent at 1, 5 and 10 μM. NGF receptor (NGFR) mRNA showed changes in expression which were similar to those for NGF mRNA, but were less marked. The specific glutamate antagonist 2-aminophosphonovaleric acid (APV) blocked the increase of NGF mRNA produced by NMDA. In the absence of Ca2+, an increase of NGF mRNA was still observed but in the presence of 1 mM ethylglycol-bis-(β-aminoethyl ether) N,N′-tetraacetic acid (EGTA), NGF mRNA production abolished. The mechanism producing an increase in NGF mRNA by NMDA may be mediated by cyclic AMP since intracellular cyclic AMP and NGF mRNA levels both increased following treatment with NMDA or dibutyryl cyclic AMP.
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