We have previously shown that platelet-activating factor (PAF), a naturally occurring lipid mediator of cell-to-cell communication, was produced by 3-day-old chick retina stimulated with acetylcholine (ACh) and dopamine (DA), but not with other neurotransmitters. ACh and DA stimulated PAF synthesis via a dithiothreitol (DTT)-insensitive cholinephosphotransferase, without affecting the acetyltransferase pathway, which was stimulated only by the calcium ionophore A23187. Therefore, we attempted to study the effects of neurotransmitters on PAF production and on the activities of the DTT-insensitive cholinephosphotransferase and acetyltransferase in the developing chick embryo retina up to hatching. Our results show that PAF was produced already at 8 days of development, when retinal cells are still rather immature and ganglion and Mueller cells are the only differentiated cells. The stimulation of PAF production occurred with ACh and not with other neurotransmitters. In older stages, DA also stimulated PAF production, as already described in the chick after hatching. DTT-insensitive cholinephosphotransferase and acetyltransferase activities were present in 8-day-old embryos, the earliest stage analyzed. Both enzymatic activities increased with age; DTT-insensitive cholinephosphotransferase increased rapidly from day 12 up to day 18, whereas acetyltransferase activity increased linearly up to the time of hatching. To promote PAF production, ACh and DA activate DTT-insensitive cholinephosphotransferase, but not acetyltransferase.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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