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Death of dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in nigral grafts: reevaluating the role of caspase activation

Hurelbrink, C. B., Armstrong, R. J., Luheshi, L. M., Dunnett, Stephen ORCID:, Rosser, Anne Elizabeth ORCID: and Barker, R. A. 2001. Death of dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in nigral grafts: reevaluating the role of caspase activation. Exp Neurol 171 (1) , pp. 46-58.

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Caspases are cysteine proteases involved in apoptotic cell death, and pharmacological caspase inhibition has been demonstrated to prevent neuronal cell death in certain experimental paradigms. In this study, the role of caspase-1 and -3 in the death of dopaminergic neurons derived from the E14 rat ventral mesencephalon (VM) has been examined in two model systems using peptide caspase inhibitors. First, cell death was induced in vitro by withdrawing serum after 2 days. Different doses of caspase-1 (IL-1beta converting enzyme) and caspase-3 inhibitors (Ac-DEVD-cmk) were added to the medium at the time of serum withdrawal, and the ability of the inhibitors to promote dopaminergic neuronal survival and prevent activation of caspase-3 was assessed at 7 days. Immunostaining using tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and cleaved caspase-3 antibodies demonstrated that caspase-1 and -3 inhibitors reduce caspase-3 activation as well as overall cell death. This did not, however, improve the survival of TH-positive neurons, although it did appear to promote their maturation. The second paradigm investigated the effects of these inhibitors in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model of PD, and similarly, addition of caspase-1 or -3 inhibitor during tissue preparation or immediately prior to grafting of VM tissue did not promote dopaminergic neuronal survival. These results demonstrate that the reduction of apoptotic cell death by pharmacological inhibition of caspase-1 and -3 does not increase dopaminergic neuronal survival in these paradigms and suggest either that caspase-3 activation is not the major determinant of dopaminergic neuronal death in vitro and in grafts or that the ability of caspase inhibitors to rescue cells depends upon the degree of apoptotic stress. This implies that strategies to improve dopaminergic cell survival in clinical programmes of transplantation for PD will need to target other pathways of cell death.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Academic Press
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 09:21

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