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C5b-9 terminal complex protects oligodendrocytes from apoptotic cell death by inhibiting caspase-8 processing and up-regulating FLIP.

Cudrici C., Niculescu F., Jensen T., Zafranskaia E., Fosbrink M., Rus V., Shin M.L., Rus H.

Activation of the terminal complement cascade involving C5 to C9 proteins has a beneficial role for oligodendrocytes (OLG) in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis, by protecting them from apoptotic cell death. We have previously shown that sublytic C5b-9 complexes, through posttranslational regulation of Bad, inhibit the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis induced by serum deprivation. In the present study, we examined the possible involvement of the caspase-8 and Fas pathway in OLG apoptosis and the role of C5b-9 in this process. In a serum-free defined medium, OLG undergo apoptosis and differentiation concomitantly. Under this condition, we found that caspase-8 processing was increased in association with Bid cleavage and markedly reduced expression of cellular FLIP long isoform protein. The caspase-8 inhibitor Z-IETD-FMK inhibited cell death associated with differentiation in a dose-dependent manner. Exposure to C5b-9 induced an inhibition of caspase-8 activation, Bid cleavage, and a significant increase in expression of cellular FLIP long isoform. These C5b-9 effects were reversed by PI3K inhibitor LY294002. C5b-9 also down-regulated the expression of FasL and the Fas-induced apoptosis. These data suggest that C5b-9 through PI3K signaling can rescue OLG from Fas-mediated apoptosis by regulating caspase-8 processing.

J. Immunol. 176:3173-3180(2006) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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