In a previous study by our group memory impairment in rats with minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) was associated with the inhibition of the glutamate‑nitric oxide‑cyclic guanosine monophosphate (Glu‑NO‑cGMP) pathway due to elevated dopamine (DA). However, the effects of DA on the Glu‑NO‑cGMP pathway localized in primary cortical astrocytes (PCAs) had not been elucidated in rats with MHE. In the present study, it was identified that when the levels of DA in the cerebral cortex of rats with MHE and high‑dose DA (3 mg/kg)‑treated rats were increased, the co‑localization of N‑methyl‑d‑aspartate receptors subunit 1 (NMDAR1), calmodulin (CaM), nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and cyclic guanine monophosphate (cGMP) with the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a marker protein of astrocytes, all significantly decreased, in both the MHE and high‑dose DA‑treated rats (P<0.01). Furthermore, NMDA‑induced augmentation of the expression of NMDAR1, CaM, nNOS, sGC and cGMP localized in PCAs was decreased in MHE and DA‑treated rats, as compared with the controls. Chronic exposure of cultured cerebral cortex PCAs to DA treatment induced a dose‑dependent decrease in the concentration of intracellular calcium, nitrites and nitrates, the formation of cGMP and the expression of NMDAR1, CaM, nNOS and sGC/cGMP. High doses of DA (50 µM) significantly reduced NMDA‑induced augmentation of the formation of cGMP and the contents of NMDAR1, CaM, nNOS, sGC and cGMP (P<0.01). These results suggest that the suppression of DA on the Glu‑NO‑cGMP pathway localized in PCAs contributes to memory impairment in rats with MHE.
Ding, S., Huang, W., Ye, Y., Yang, J., Hu, J., Wang, X., … Lin, Y. (2014). Elevated intracranial dopamine impairs the glutamate-nitric oxide-cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway in cortical astrocytes in rats with minimal hepatic encephalopathy. Molecular Medicine Reports, 10(3), 1215–1224. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2014.2386