Nitric oxide regulates neurogenesis in adult olfactory epithelium in vitro
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Nitric oxide regulates neurogenesis in the developing and adult brain. The olfactory epithelium is a site of neurogenesis in the adult and previous studies suggest a role for nitric oxide in this tissue during development. We investigated whether neuronal precursor proliferation and differentiation is regulated by nitric oxide using primary cultures of olfactory epithelial cells and an immortalized, clonal, neuronal precursor cell line derived from adult olfactory epithelium. In these cultures NOS inhibition reduced cell proliferation and stimulated neuronal differentiation, including expression of a voltage-dependent potassium conductance of the delayed rectifier type. In the neuronal precursor cell line, differentiation was associated with a significant decrease in nitric oxide release. In contrast, addition of nitric oxide stimulated proliferation and reduced neuronal differentiation. Nitric oxide regulated olfactory neurogenesis independently of added growth factors. Taken together these results indicate that nitric oxide levels can regulate cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation of olfactory precursor cells.