, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 891-898

Neuronal Apoptosis Induced by Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress

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Apoptosis is a conserved active cellular mechanism occurring under a range of physiological and pathological conditions. In the nervous system, apoptosis plays crucial roles in normal development and neuronal degenerating diseases. Various deleterious conditions, including accumulation of the mutant proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and inhibition of ER to Golgi transport of proteins, may result in apoptosis. In this study, we examined the downstream events of apoptosis in differentiated PC 12 cells under ER stress induced by brefeldin A, an inhibitor of ER to Golgi protein transport. Activation of NF-κB and degradation of I-κB were observed within 2 hours, followed by up-regulation of GRP78 protein level in treated cells. Caspase-12 only appeared around 24 hours after brefeldin A treatment, coincident with cell nuclei fragmentation. These results suggest that neuronal apoptosis may be induced by ER stress through a NF-κB and caspase related pathway.