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Brain Res. 2002 Mar 1;929(1):87-95.

Protein kinase C activation is required for the lead-induced inhibition of proliferation and differentiation of cultured oligodendroglial progenitor cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University, 76 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.


Lead (Pb) is a common neurotoxicant of major public health concern. Previous studies revealed that cultured oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are highly vulnerable to Pb toxicity. The present study examines the effect of Pb on the survival, proliferation and differentiation of OPCs in vitro. Dose-response studies showed that> or = l5-10 microM Pb is cytotoxic to OPCs within 24 h. However, 1 microM of Pb was found to inhibit the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs without affecting cell viability. Pb markedly decreased the proliferative capability of OPCs and inhibited cell-intrinsic lineage progression of OPCs at a late progenitor stage. The Pb-induced decrease of proliferation and differentiation was abolished by inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) with bisindolylmaleimide I, while the effect of the PKC-activating agent phorbol-12,13-didecanoate was potentiated by Pb. Furthermore, Pb exposure of OPCs caused the translocation of PKC from the cytoplasm to membrane without an increase in total cellular PKC enzymic activity. These results indicate that Pb inhibits the proliferation and differentiation of oligodendrocyte lineage cells in vitro through a mechanism requiring PKC activation.

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