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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heme oxygenase-1 and heme oxygenase-2 have distinct roles in the proliferation and survival of olfactory receptor neurons mediated by cGMP and bilirubin, respectively.

Heme oxygenase ( HO) is implicated in protection against oxidative stress, proliferation and apoptosis in many cell types, including neurons. We utilized olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) as a model to define the roles of HO-1 and HO-2 in neuronal development and survival, and to determine the mediators of these effects. The olfactory system is a useful model as ORNs display neurogenesis post-natally and do not contain nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, which could confound results. HO isoforms were expressed in ORNs during embryogenesis and post-natally. Mice null for either HO-1 or HO-2 displayed decreased proliferation of neuronal precursors. However, apoptosis was increased only in HO-2 null mice. Cyclic GMP immunostaining was reduced in ORNs in both genotypes, providing direct evidence that HO mediates cGMP production in vivo. Bilirubin immunostaining was reduced only in HO-2 null mice. These roles for HO-1 and HO-2 were confirmed using detergent ablation of the epithelium to observe increased neurogenesis of ORNs after target disruption in HO null mice. Primary cultures of ORNs revealed that proliferative and survival effects of HO were mediated through cGMP and bilirubin, respectively. These results support a role for HO, the CO-cGMP signaling system and bilirubin in neurodevelopment and in response to injury.[1]


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