The diverse signaling events following mitochondrial depolarization in neurons are not clear. We examined for the first time the effects of mitochondrial depolarization on mitochondrial function, intracellular calcium, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) activation, and nitric oxide (NO) production in cultured neurons and perivascular nerves. Cultured rat primary cortical neurons were studied on 7–10 days in vitro, and endothelium-denuded cerebral arteries of adult Sprague-Dawley rats were studied ex vivo. Diazoxide and BMS-191095 (BMS), activators of mitochondrial KATP channels, depolarized mitochondria in cultured neurons and increased cytosolic calcium levels. However, the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate was unaffected by mitochondrial depolarization. In addition, diazoxide and BMS not only increased the nNOS phosphorylation at positive regulatory serine 1417 but also decreased nNOS phosphorylation at negative regulatory serine 847. Furthermore, diazoxide and BMS increased NO production in cultured neurons measured with both fluorescence microscopy and electron spin resonance spectroscopy, which was sensitive to inhibition by the selective nNOS inhibitor 7-nitroindazole (7-NI). Diazoxide also protected cultured neurons against oxygen-glucose deprivation, which was blocked by NOS inhibition and rescued by NO donors. Finally, BMS induced vasodilation of endothelium denuded, freshly isolated cerebral arteries that was diminished by 7-NI and tetrodotoxin. Thus pharmacological depolarization of mitochondria promotes activation of nNOS leading to generation of NO in cultured neurons and endothelium-denuded arteries. Mitochondrial-induced NO production leads to increased cellular resistance to lethal stress by cultured neurons and to vasodilation of denuded cerebral arteries.
- mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channels
- membrane potential
- superoxide anion
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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