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Brain Res Bull. 2006 Dec 11;71(1-3):116-26. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) prevents ethanol (EtOH) induced B92 glial cell death by both PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling pathways.

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  • 1Molecular Biology, IMBICE, Camino Belgrano y 526, CC 403, 1900 La Plata, Argentina; Instituto de BiofĂ­sica da UFRJ, CCS, Bloco G, Cidade Universitaria, 21949-900 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


We investigated the neuroprotective effect of glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) upon alcohol-exposed B92 cultures, as well as the role of the cytoskeleton and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways in this effect. Ethanol (EtOH) was added to cultures, either alone or in combination with 30 ng/ml GDNF. Exposure to EtOH (86 and 172 mM; 60 and 120 min) increased the frequency of apoptotic cells identified by nuclear DNA staining with 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Cultures treated with GDNF showed a decrease in ethanol-induced apoptosis. A jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is activated by EtOH and their pharmacological inhibition (by SP600125) neutralized ethanol-induced apoptosis, suggesting a role for JNK in EtOH neurotoxicity. Immunocytochemically detected phospho-JNK (p-JNK) showed an unusual filamental expression, and localized together with actin stress fibers. Examination of the cytoskeleton showed that EtOH depolymerized actin filaments, inducing p-JNK dissociation and translocation to the nucleus, which suggests that released p-JNK may contribute to glial cell death after EtOH exposure. Treatment with GDNF, in turn, may neutralize the ethanol-induced cell death pathway. Either a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway inhibitor (LY294002) or an inhibitor of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1, 2 pathways (UO126) failed to neutralize GDNF protective effects. However, the simultaneous use of both inhibitors blocked the protective effect of GDNF, suggesting a role for both signaling cascades in the GDNF protection. These findings provide further insight into the mechanism involved in ethanol-induced apoptosis and the neurotrophic protection of glial cells.

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