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Chemical hypoxia-induced stimulation of polyamine biosynthesis and ornithine decarboxylase gene transcription in C6 glioma cells

Mari Itoh, Naoyoshi Nishibori, Song Her, Mi-Sook Lee, Kyoji Morita.

Polyamines, aliphatic polycationic compounds distributed ubiquitously in the living organisms, are considered to be implicated in various cellular processes, and furthermore speculated to play a possible pathophysiological role in physical and mental disorders. In particular, the regulation of polyamine metabolism in damaged glial cells seems interesting and important to understand a possible connection of polyamines with the brain functions. On the other hand, previous studies have shown that ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the enzyme catalyzing the rate-limiting step of polyamine biosynthesis, can be activated during the period of recovery from various damage in the brain, but little is known about the effects of toxic insults on the expression of ODC gene in neuronal and glial cells. Based on the hypothesis that noxious impacts on the brain might be able to increase polyamine production in glial cells to protect the neuronal cell functions against toxic injuries, the effects of chemical hypoxia on polyamine production and the transcription of ODC gene in C6 glioma cells were investigated using a HPLC assay method and a one-step RT-PCR analysis. In consequence, both cobalt and azide were shown to increase the cellular polyamine contents through elevating ODC mRNA levels under the conditions in which hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (Hif-1) gene was expressed. Thus, chemical hypoxia is speculated to induce ODC gene transcription, thus resulting in the increment of polyamine contents in glial cells, thereby contributing to the recovery of brain function from hypoxic injury.

Key words: Hypoxic cell damage; Cellular polyamine contents; ODC enzyme activity; ODC mRNA levels; Glial cells

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