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Science. 1992 Oct 9;258(5080):302-4.

Prevention of programmed cell death of sympathetic neurons by the bcl-2 proto-oncogene.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Centre M├ędical Universitaire, Geneva, Switzerland.


Approximately half of the neurons produced during embryogenesis normally die before adulthood. Although target-derived neurotrophic factors are known to be major determinants of programmed cell death--apoptosis--the molecular mechanisms by which trophic factors interfere with cell death regulation are largely unknown. Overexpression of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene in cultured sympathetic neurons has now been shown to prevent apoptosis normally induced by deprivation of nerve growth factor. This finding, together with the previous demonstration of bcl-2 expression in the nervous system, suggests that the Bcl-2 protein may be a major mediator of the effects of neurotrophic factors on neuronal survival.

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