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Release of neuropeptides during intracellular stimulation of single identified Aplysia neurons in culture.

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Abstract

An important criterion for classifying a substance as a neurotransmitter is that it is released in an activity-dependent fashion. We have utilized cell culture of individual neurons of Aplysia to demonstrate the release of the neuropeptides SCPA and SCPB (small cardioactive peptides A and B). Neurons B1 and B2 were isolated from the buccal ganglion of Aplysia and maintained in cell culture. The cells grew new processes, which were immunoreactive to antibodies for the neuropeptide SCPB. These processes contained SCPA and SCPB that were detectable by bioassay on snail heart. The cells synthesized the SCPs from radiolabeled precursors and transported the peptides to their neurites. Single cells released SCPs in a calcium-dependent fashion upon intracellular electrical stimulation. Taken together, these results provide critical evidence that SCPs are neurotransmitters. The results also indicate that the cell culture of individual identified neurons can be used to investigate the release of peptides.

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