Expression of functional mGlu5 metabotropic glutamate receptors in human melanocytes

C. Frati, C. Marchese, G. Fisichella, A. Copani, M. R. Nasca, M. Storto, F. Nicoletti

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Cultured human melanocytes express mGlu5 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors, as shown by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, Western blot analysis, and measurement of agonist-stimulated polyphosphoinositide hydrolysis. The mGlu5 receptor agonists (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine and quisqualate increased [3H-methyl]thymidine incorporation and melanocyte proliferation in subconfluent cultures, but impaired cell viability in confluent cultures. Both effects were prevented by 2-methyl-6-(2-phenyl-1-ethynyl)-pyridine, a potent and highly selective mGlu5 receptor antagonist. Agonists of other mGlu receptor subtypes (such as the mGlu2/3 receptor agonist, 2S,2'R,3'R-2-2',3'- dicarboxycyclopropylglycine, or the mGlu4/6/7/8 receptor agonist, L-2-amino- 4-phosphonobutanoate) or selective agonists of ionotropic glutamate receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate, and kainate) did not affect melanocyte proliferation or viability. The presence of a receptor for glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter, in human melanocytes is intriguing, mGlu5 receptors may be involved in the control of melanocyte proliferation (and perhaps in other functions), but harbor a potential toxicity and may therefore contribute to cell damage under pathological conditions. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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