In this paper, we tested whether physiological activators of the cAMP second messenger pathway in primary cultures of neurons from rat cerebral cortex directly induce c-fos and other immediate early gene (IEG) transcription factors. We have found that brief (30 s to 2 min) stimulation of neurons with vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and SKF-38393, a D1-dopaminergic receptor agonist, potently increased mRNA levels for the IEGs c-fos, jun-B, and NGFI-A, with weaker increases for c-jun. This action was mimicked by forskolin and dibutyryl cAMP. IEG induction by VIP and dibutyryl cAMP was not blocked by excitatory amino acid receptor antagonists or by blockers of dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels. Moreover, calcium-free medium did not modify IEG induction by dibutyryl cAMP, suggesting that cAMP can directly regulate IEG expression in differentiated neurons independently of calcium.
- Cerebral cortex
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience