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Up-regulation of bax and down-regulation of bcl-2 is associated with kainate-induced apoptosis in mouse brain.

Gillardon F., Wickert H., Zimmermann M.

Systemic administration of kainate induces cell death in vulnerable regions of the rodent brain. Neuronal degeneration is associated with internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and induction of presumptive cell death effector genes (e.g. p53, c-fos) suggesting that kainate activates an apoptotic pathway. In the present study, kainate-induced DNA damage has been demonstrated at the cellular level by in situ nick translation in the mouse hippocampus and neocortex at 24 h and 48 h after intraperitoneal injections. In the same regions, the intensity of Bcl-2 immunoreactivity decreased by about 45% as measured by digital image analysis. Most important, kainate treatment evoked a nearly 3-fold increase in bax mRNA levels within the mouse brain. The down-regulation of bcl-2, which promotes cell survival, and the up-regulation of bax, which promotes programmed cell death, may have functional significance in kainate-mediated excitotoxicity and in the selective vulnerability of specific brain regions.

Neurosci. Lett. 192:85-88(1995) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]