Kinetics of nitric oxide-cyclic GMP signalling in CNS cells and its possible regulation by cyclic GMP

J Neurochem. 2002 Oct;83(1):37-47. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2002.01106.x.


Physiologically, nitric oxide (NO) signal transduction occurs through soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), which catalyses cyclic GMP (cGMP) formation. Knowledge of the kinetics of NO-evoked cGMP signals is therefore critical for understanding how NO signals are decoded. Studies on cerebellar astrocytes showed that sGC undergoes a desensitizing profile of activity, which, in league with phosphodiesterases (PDEs), was hypothesized to diversify cGMP responses in different cells. The hypothesis was tested by examining the kinetics of cGMP in rat striatal cells, in which cGMP accumulated in neurones in response to NO. Based on the effects of selective PDE inhibitors, cGMP hydrolysis following exposure to NO was attributed to a cGMP-stimulated PDE (PDE 2). Analysis of NO-induced cGMP accumulation in the presence of a PDE inhibitor indicated that sGC underwent marked desensitization. However, the desensitization kinetics determined under these conditions described poorly the cGMP profile observed in the absence of the PDE inhibitor. An explanation shown plausible theoretically was that cGMP determines the level of sGC desensitization. In support, tests in cerebellar astrocytes indicated an inverse relationship between cGMP level and recovery of sGC from its desensitized state. We suggest that the degree of sGC desensitization is related to the cGMP concentration and that this effect is not mediated by (de)phosphorylation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation
  • Computer Simulation
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Feedback, Physiological / drug effects
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / drug effects
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase
  • Cyclic GMP