Author(s): Karanth S, Yu WH, Walczewska A, Mastronardi C, McCann SM
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Abstract Because ascorbic acid (AA) is concentrated in synaptic vesicles containing glutamic acid, we hypothesized that AA might act as a neurotransmitter. Because AA is an antioxidant, it might therefore inhibit nitric oxidergic (NOergic) activation of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) release from medial basal hypothalamic explants by chemically reducing NO. Cell membrane depolarization induced by increased potassium concentration [K(+)] increased medium concentrations of both AA and LH-RH. An inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS), N(G)-monomethyl-l-arginine (NMMA), prevented the increase in medium concentrations of AA and LH-RH induced by high [K(+)], suggesting that NO mediates release of both AA and LH-RH. Calcium-free medium blocked not only the increase in AA in the medium but also the release of LH-RH. Sodium nitroprusside, which releases NO, stimulated LH-RH release and decreased the concentration of AA in the incubation medium, presumably because the NO released oxidized AA to dehydro-AA. AA (10(-5) to 10(-3) M) had no effect on basal LH-RH release but completely blocked high [K(+)]- and nitroprusside-induced LH-RH release. N-Methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA), which mimics the action of the excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter glutamic acid, releases LH-RH by releasing NO. AA (10(-5) to 10(-3) M) inhibited the LH-RH-releasing action of NMDA. AA may be an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks NOergic stimulation of LH-RH release by chemically reducing the NO released by the NOergic neurons.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy