Differentiated Human NT2-N Neurons Possess a High Intracellular Content of myo-Inositol

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myo-Inositol plays a key role in signal transduction and osmotic regulation events in the CNS. Despite the known high concentrations of inositol in the human CNS, relatively little is known about its distribution within the different cell types. In this report, inositol homeostasis was studied in NT2-N cells, a unique cell culture model of human CNS neurons. Differentiation of precursor NT2 teratocarcinoma cells into NT2-N neurons by means of retinoic acid treatment resulted in an increase in inositol concentration from 24 to 195 nmol/mg of protein. After measurement of intracellular water spaces, inositol concentrations of 1.6 and 17.4 mM were calculated for NT2 and NT2-N cells, respectively. The high concentrations of inositol in NT2-N neurons could be explained by (1) an increased uptake of inositol (3.7 vs. 1.6 nmol/mg of protein/h, for NT2-N and NT2 cells, respectively) and (2) a decreased efflux of inositol (1.7%/h for NT2-N neurons vs. 9.0%/h for NT2 cells). Activity of inositol synthase, which mediates de novo synthesis of inositol, was not detected in either cell type. The observation that CNS neurons maintain a high intracellular concentration of inositol may be relevant to the regulation of both phosphoinositide signaling and osmotic stress events in the CNS.

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