Immunocytochemistry of cGMP in the Cerebellum of the Immature, Adult, and Aged Rat: the Involvement of Nitric Oxide. A Micropharmacological Study

Eur J Neurosci. 1990;2(10):845-862. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.1990.tb00396.x.


In this study we describe the localization of formaldehyde-fixed cGMP-immunoreactivity (cGMP-IR) in rat cerebellar tissue slices incubated in vitro. In the absence of phosphodiesterase inhibition, cGMP-immunofluorescence was of low intensity in tissue slices prepared from immature cerebella. Addition of isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX) to the incubation medium resulted in the appearance of cGMP-IR in clusters of astrocytes in the internal granular layer. Addition of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), kainic acid, atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), or sodium nitroprusside (SNP) gave an intense cGMP-IR in Bergmann fibres, Bergmann cell bodies, and astrocytes in the internal granular layer. Astrocytes in the white matter showed cGMP-IR after incubation of the slice in the presence of ANF or nitroprusside, but not after NMDA or kainic acid. In addition, after SNP stimulation of cGMP production, cGMP-IR was found in fibres which were not positive for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). In the adult cerebellar slice, intense basal cGMP-immunostaining was observed in Bergmann fibres, Bergmann cell bodies, and astrocytes in the granular layer. No cGMP-IR was observed in Purkinje cells. Stimulation of the cGMP-content in the glial structures by NMDA, ANF, or SNP, was suggested by the immunocytochemical results. However, when measured biochemically, only the effect of SNP was statistically significant, and immunocytochemistry showed that SNP clearly stimulated cGMP synthesis in neuronal cell structures. In the cerebellum of the aged rat a reduced cGMP-IR was found compared to the adult, in the same structures which showed cGMP-IR in the adult. Basal cGMP-immunostaining was reduced in the presence of haemoglobin, methylene blue, by inhibiting nitric oxide synthesis with NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (NGMAr), or by depletion of external Ca2+. Also the stimulatory effect of NMDA and of ANF (partly) on the cGMP-IR was inhibited by these compounds. cGMP-IR after stimulation of guanylate cyclase by SNP was reduced by the concomitant presence of haemoglobin or methylene blue, but not by NGMAr, or by omission of Ca2+. Our results point to an important role for cGMP in the functioning of glial tissue in the cerebellum and also suggest a role for nitric oxide as an intercellular mediator in the functioning of glutamate and ANF in the cerebellum.