URL with Digital Object Identifier
Bergmann glia (BG) predominantly use glutamate/aspartate transporters (GLAST) for glutamate uptake in the cerebellum. Recently, nitric oxide (NO) treatment has been shown to upregulate GLAST function and increase glutamate uptake in vitro. We previously discovered that neuronal nitric oxide synthase knockout (nNOS−/−) mice displayed structural and functional neuronal abnormalities in the cerebellum during development, in addition to previously reported motor deficits. Although these developmental deficits have been identified in the nNOS−/− cerebellum, it is unknown whether BG morphology and GLAST expression are also affected in the absence of nNOS in vivo. This study is the first to characterize BG morphology and GLAST expression during development in nNOS−/− mice using immunohistochemistry and western blotting across postnatal development. Results showed that BG in nNOS−/− mice exhibited abnormal morphology and decreased GLAST expression compared with wildtype (WT) mice across postnatal development. Treating ex vivo WT cerebellar slices with the NOS inhibitor L-NAME decreased GLAST expression while treating nNOS−/− slices with the slow-release NO-donor NOC-18 increased GLAST expression when compared with their respective controls. In addition, treating primary BG isolated from WT mice with the selective nNOS inhibitor 7N decreased the membrane expression of GLAST and influx of Ca2+/Na+, while treating nNOS−/− BG with SNAP increased the membrane expression of GLAST and Ca2+/Na+ influx. Moreover, the effects of SNAP on GLAST expression and Ca2+/Na+ influx in nNOS−/− BG were significantly reduced by a PKG inhibitor. Together, these results reveal a novel role for nNOS/NO signaling in BG development, regulated by a PKG-mediated mechanism.