Developmental and genetic regulation of programmed neuronal death
Apoptotic neuronal death is a key mechanism that regulates the elimination of neuronal precursor cells during the development of the mammalian brain. The principal action of neurotrophins such as nerve growth factor is probably the suppression of the preexistent machinery of programmed cell death that is readily activated in neurons deprived of neurotrophins. Potassium-mediated neuronal depolarization prolongs neuronal survival in vitro and has become a major model of examining neuronal apoptosis. Apoptosis induced by potassium deprivation triggers a lethal cascade of events that includes specific RNA and protein synthesis, induction of interleukin 1-converting enzyme-like protease activity, and generation of free radicals. Neuronal susceptibility to apoptosis is also regulated by the expression of bcl-2 family proteins. Current research focuses on the significance of these findings for the premature death of adult neurons in human neurodegenerative diseases.
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Programme Cell Death Cerebellar Granule Neuron Neuronal Precursor Cell Killer Gene
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