Functional roles of peroxynitrite in N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)- and sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-evoked releases of acetylcholine (ACh) from cerebral cortical neurons in primary culture have been investigated. NMDA increased the release of ACh in a dose-dependent manner, which was significantly suppressed by (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo-[a,d]cycloheptan-5,10-imine (MK-801), a non-competitive antagonist specific for the NMDA receptor complex, and NO synthase inhibitors. SNP also showed a concentration-dependent increase in ACh release. Hemoglobin significantly abolished the stimulatory effects of both NMDA and SNP on ACh release. In addition, superoxide anion scavengers such as superoxide dismutase and ceruloplasmin significantly reduced the increased ACh release evoked by NMDA and SNP. Synthesized peroxynitrite dose-dependently elevated the release of ACh. These results indicate that the increased release of ACh by NMDA and SNP is mediated through peroxynitrite formed in the reaction of superoxide anion with nitric oxide produced by NMDA receptor activation and liberated from SNP rather than nitric oxide itself. © 1995.
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