• Balb/c mice;
  • cerebellum;
  • G-protein;
  • neuropeptides;
  • receptor


The neuropeptide secretoneurin (SN) is an endoproteolytic product of the chromogranin secretogranin II. We investigated the effects of SN on the differentiation of immature cerebellar granule cells derived from the external granular layer (EGL). Secretoneurin caused concentration-dependent increases in neurite outgrowth, reflecting differentiation. The maximum effect was reached at a concentration of 100 nm SN. Secretoneurin immunoneutralization using specific antiserum significantly decreased neurite outgrowth; however, neurite morphology was altered. An affinity chromatography-purified antibody significantly inhibited the outgrowth response to SN (p < 0.001) without altering the morphology. Binding studies suggest the existence of specific G-protein-coupled receptors on the surface of monocytes that recognize SN. Assuming that SN promotes neurite outgrowth in EGL cells by acting through a similar G-protein-coupled mechanism, we treated SN-stimulated EGL cultures with pertussis toxin. Exposure to pertussis toxin (0.1 µg/mL) showed a significant inhibition of the SN-induced outgrowth. To establish a second messenger pathway we used the protein kinase C inhibitor staurosporine. We found that EGL cell viability was not enhanced following chronic SN treatment for 24 h. These data indicate that SN is a novel trophic substance that can affect cerebellar maturation, primarily by accelerating granule cell differentiation through a signalling mechanism that is coupled to pertussis toxin-sensitive G-proteins.