We found in a previous study that both mRNA expression and release of fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1) are greater in rat astrocytes that are long term-cultured for one month (W/M cells) than in the cells cultured for one week (W/W cells). However, FGF-1 does not enhance phosphorylation of Akt, MEK, and ERK in W/M cells, while it does in W/W cells. In this work we studied the mechanism to cause these differences between W/W and W/M cells in culture. As it is known that long term culture generates oxidative stress, we characterized the stresses which W/M cells undergo in comparison with W/W cells. The levels of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and mitochondrial Bax were higher in W/M cells than in W/W cells. W/M cells recovered their ability to respond to FGF-1 to enhance phosphorylation of Akt, MEK, and ERK in the presence of antioxidants. Oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) had no effect on mRNA expression of FGF-1 in W/W cells, although H2O2 enhances release of FGF-1 from W/W cells without inducing apoptosis. The influence of cell density was studied on mRNA expression of FGF-1 and cellular response to FGF-1, as an increasing cell density is observed in W/M cells. The increasing cell density enhanced mRNA expression of FGF-1 in W/W cells without suppression of responses to FGF-1. The decrease in cell density lowered the FGF-1 mRNA expression in W/M cells without recovery of the response to FGF-1 to enhance phosphorylation of Akt, MEK, and ERK. These findings suggest that oxidative stress attenuate sensitivity to FGF-1 and higher cell density may enhance FGF-1 expression in W/M cells. In addition, we found that the cellular level of phosphatidic acid (PA) increased in H2O2-treated W/W and W/M cells and decreased by the treatment with antioxidants, and that PA enhances the mRNA expression of FGF-1 in the W/W cells. These findings suggest that the increasing PA production may enhance FGF-1 expression to protect astrocytes against oxidative stress induced by long-term culture.
Keywords: Astrocyte; FGF-1 release; Long-term culture; Oxidative stress; Phosphatidic acid.
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