Activation of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors inhibits the production of RANTES in glial cell cultures

Gilbert Besong, Giuseppe Battaglia, Mara D'Onofrio, Roberto Di Marco, Richard Teke Ngomba, Marianna Storto, Marzia Castiglione, Katia Mangano, Carla L. Busceti, Ferdinando R. Nicoletti, Kevin Bacon, Michael Tusche, Ornella Valenti, Peter Jeffrey Conn, Valeria Bruno, Ferdinando Nicoletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chemokine RANTES is critically involved in neuroinflammation and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis. We examined the possibility that activation of G-protein-coupled metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors regulates the formation of RANTES in glial cells. A 15 hr exposure of cultured astrocytes to tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ induced a substantial increase in both RANTES mRNA and extracellular RANTES levels. These increases were markedly reduced when astrocytes were coincubated with L-2-amino-4-phosphono-butanoate (L-AP-4), 4-phosphonophenylglycine, or L-serine-O-phosphate, which selectively activate group III mGlu receptor subtypes (i.e., mGlu4, -6, -7, and -8 receptors). Agonists of mGlu1/5 or mGlu2/3 receptors were virtually inactive. Inhibition of RANTES release produced by L-AP-4 was attenuated by the selective group III mGlu receptor antagonist (R,S)-α-methylserine-O-phosphate or by pretreatment of the cultures with pertussis toxin. Cultured astrocytes expressed mGlu4 receptors, and the ability of L-AP-4 to inhibit RANTES release was markedly reduced in cultures prepared from mGlu4 knock-out mice. This suggests that activation of mGlu4 receptors negatively modulates the production of RANTES in glial cells. We also examined the effect of L-AP-4 on the development of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in Lewis rats. L-AP-4 was subcutaneously infused for 28 d by an osmotic minipump that released 250 nl/hr of a solution of 250 mM of the drug. Detectable levels of L-AP-4 (∼100 nM) were found in the brain dialysate of EAE rats. Infusion of L-AP-4 did not affect the time at onset and the severity of neurological symptoms but significantly increased the rate of recovery from EAE. In addition, lower levels of RANTES mRNA were found in the cerebellum and spinal cord of EAE rats infused with L-AP-4. These results suggest that pharmacological activation of group III mGlu receptors may be useful in the experimental treatment of neuroinflammatory CNS disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5403-5411
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2002


  • Chemokines
  • Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis
  • Glial cultures
  • Leukocytes
  • mGlu4 receptor
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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