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#20802972   2010/10/21 Save this To Up

Caspase dependence of the death of neonatal retinal ganglion cells induced by axon damage and induction of autophagy as a survival mechanism.

We examined the degeneration of post-mitotic ganglion cells in ex-vivo neonatal retinal explants following axon damage. Ultrastructural features of both apoptosis and autophagy were detected. Degenerating cells reacted with antibodies specific for activated caspase-3 or -9, consistent with the presence of caspase activity. Furthermore, peptidic inhibitors of caspase-9, -6 or -3 prevented cell death (100 µM Ac-LEDH-CHO, 50 µM Ac-VEID-CHO and 10 µM Z-DEVD-fmk, respectively). Interestingly, inhibition of autophagy by 7-10 mM 3-methyl-adenine increased the rate of cell death. Immunohistochemistry data, caspase activation and caspase inhibition data suggest that axotomy of neonatal retinal ganglion cells triggers the intrinsic apoptotic pathway, which, in turn, is counteracted by a pro-survival autophagic response, demonstrated by electron microscopy profiles and pharmacological autophagy inhibitor.

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#11045015   2001/02/06 Save this To Up

Activation of caspase-9 and -3 during H2O2-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells independent of ceramide formation.

The treatment of PC12 cells with H2O2 (100-500 microM) resulted in typical apoptotic changes including fragmentation and condensation of nuclei, and DNA fragmentation observed as DNA ladder. H2O2-induced apoptosis was associated with activation of caspase-3 as assessed by cleavage of specific fluorogenic substrate peptide and processing of procaspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. However, formation of ceramide, which often locates upstream of caspase-3, was not observed. The inhibitory peptide relatively specific for caspase-3, z-DEVD-FMK and non-selective caspase inhibitor z-VAD-FMK inhibited activation of caspase-3 and apoptotic cell death. However, the relatively specific inhibitors, Ac-YVKD for caspase-1 and Ac-IETD for caspase-8/6, did not affect the occurrence of apoptotic cell death. As an upstream activation of caspase-3, induction of cytochrome c release followed by processing of procaspase-9 was observed by Western blotting, although the formation of intracellular ceramide was not observed. On the other hand, in PC12 cells overexpressing Bcl-2, the number of apoptotic cells was markedly decreased and activation of both caspases-9 and -3 was prevented. These results suggest that cytochrome c and caspase-9 initiate the activation of executor caspase-3 in H2O2-treated PC12 cells, and that Bcl-2 inhibits H2O2-induced release of cytochrome c from mitochondria and then proteolytic processing of procaspase-9.

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#11000492   2000/11/29 Save this To Up

Excision of DNA loop domains as a common step in caspase-dependent and -independent types of neuronal cell death.

Treatment of rat cerebellar granule neurons with the phosphatase inhibitor, okadaic acid (OKA) or the excitatory neurotransmitter, L-glutamate, resulted in progressive cell death associated with apoptotic-like changes in nuclear morphology. The OKA-induced neurotoxicity was accompanied by the activation of caspase-3 (ICE-related cysteine protease) and the development of an oligonucleosomal DNA ladder, whereas neither activation of caspase-1, -2, -3, -5, or -9, nor internucleosomal DNA fragmentation accompanied L-glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. At the same time, both OKA and L-glutamate induced a similar pattern of nuclear DNA disintegration into high molecular weight (HMW)-DNA fragments of about 50-100 kb, which are widely believed to originate from the excision of DNA loop domains. Z-DEVD-fmk, a specific caspase-3 inhibitor, as well as a general caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk, inhibited both the internucleosomal- and HMW-DNA fragmentation in OKA-treated neurons. However neither z-DEVD-fmk nor z-VAD-fmk had any obvious inhibitory effect on the formation of HMW-DNA fragments induced by L-glutamate. The results indicate that the formation of the HMW-DNA fragments in cerebellar granule neurons accompanies both caspase-dependent and -independent types of cell death, indicative of multiple mechanisms in the regulation of excision of DNA loop domains during neuronal cell death.

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