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Neurosignals. 2002 Jul-Aug;11(4):175-90.

Involvement of cyclic GMP and protein kinase G in the regulation of apoptosis and survival in neural cells.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China. ronfiscus@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Our current understanding of nitric oxide (NO), cyclic GMP (cGMP) and protein kinase G (PKG) signaling pathways in the nervous systems has its origins in the early studies conducted on vascular tissues during the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s. The pioneering research into the NO/cGMP/PKG pathway in blood vessels conducted by the laboratories of Drs. Ferid Murad, Louis Ignarro and Robert Furchgott ultimately led to the awarding of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to these three scientists. On the basis of further pioneering studies by Drs. John Garthwaite, Solomon Snyder, Steven Vincent and many other neuroscientists during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, it became recognized that NO serves as a neurotransmitter/neuromodulator in the central and peripheral nervous systems and that certain neural cells possess a cGMP signaling pathway similar to that in vascular smooth muscle cells. Although NO (at high concentrations) is toxic and thought to participate in neuronal cell death during stroke and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, HIV dementia and Parkinson's disease), recent evidence suggests that NO at low physiological concentrations can act as an antiapoptotic/prosurvival factor in certain neural cells (e.g. PC12 cells, motor neurons and neurons of dorsal root ganglia, hippocampus and sympathetic nerves). The antiapoptotic effects of NO are mediated, in part, by cGMP and a downstream target protein, PKG. Other cGMP-elevating factors (e.g. atrial and brain natriuretic peptides) and direct PKG activator (e.g. 8-bromo-cGMP) also have antiapoptotic effects which have been quantified by the new capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detector technology. Inhibition of soluble guanylyl cyclase and lowering of basal cGMP levels cause apoptosis in unstressed neural cells (NG108-15 and N1E-115 cells). The cGMP/PKG pathway appears to play an essential role in preventing activation of a proapoptotic pathway, thus promoting neural cell survival.

Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

PMID:
12393944
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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