Cholinergic neurons regulate secretion of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor by skeletal muscle cells in culture.
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Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has been identified as a potent survival factor for both central and peripheral neurons. GDNF has been shown to be a potent survival factor for motor neurons during programmed cell death and continuous treatment with GDNF maintains hyperinnervation of skeletal muscle in adulthood. However, little is known about factors regulating normal production of endogenous GDNF in skeletal muscle. This study aimed to examine the role that motor neurons play in regulating GDNF secretion by skeletal muscle. A co-culture of skeletal muscle cells (C2C12) and cholinergic neurons, glioma×neuroblastoma hybrid cells (NG108-15) were used to create nerve-muscle interactions in vitro. Acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) on nerve-myotube co-cultures were blocked with alpha-bungarotoxin (α-BTX). GDNF protein content in cells and in culture medium was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and western blotting. GDNF localization was examined by immunocytochemistry. The nerve-muscle co-culture study indicated that the addition of motor neurons to skeletal muscle cells reduced the secretion of GDNF by skeletal muscle. The results also showed that blocking AChRs with α-BTX reversed the action of neural cells on GDNF secretion by skeletal muscle. Although ELISA results showed no GDNF in differentiated NG108-15 cells grown alone, immunocytochemical analysis showed that GDNF was localized in NG108-15 cells co-cultured with C2C12 myotubes. These results suggest that motor neurons may be regulating their own supply of GDNF secreted by skeletal muscle and that activation of AChRs may be involved in this process.