Immature and mature cortical neurons engage different apoptotic mechanisms involving caspase-3 and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway

Christian Lesuisse, Lee J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The authors used cultured mouse cortical neurons to study mechanisms of DNA damage-induced apoptosis in immature and mature neurons. Neurons were maintained viably for 60 days in vitro (DIV60). The increased levels of glutamate receptors, synaptic proteins, and glycolytic enzyme were used to track maturation. Exposure of neurons to the DNA-damaging agent camptothecin induced apoptosis in immature (DIV5) and mature (DIV25-30) neurons. Internucleosomal fragmentation of DNA emerged more rapidly in mature neurons than in immature neurons. Immunoblotting revealed that cleaved caspase-3 increased in apoptotic DIV5 neurons but not in DIV30 neurons, but immunolocalization showed accumulation of cleaved caspase-3 in DIV5 and DIV30 neurons. A reversible caspase-3 inhibitor blocked apoptosis in DIV5 neurons but not in DIV30 neurons. Phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (Erk/MAP kinase)-42/44 occurred preapoptotically in mature but not immature neurons, while Erk54 nuclear translocation and MAP kinase kinase kinase-1 cleavage into putative caspase-3-generated proapoptotic fragments occurred in DIV5 but not DIV30 neurons. Inhibition of Erk activation with MAP kinase kinase inhibitor blocked apoptosis at both ages. The results show that immature and mature cortical neurons engage different signaling mechanisms in MAP kinase and caspase pathways during apoptosis; thus, neuron age influences the mechanisms and progression of apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-950
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Cortical neuron culture
  • DNA damage
  • Ischemic neuronal death
  • MEKK1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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