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J Alzheimers Dis. 2007 May;11(2):165-74.

Oxidized proteins in astrocytes generated in a hyperbaric atmosphere induce neuronal apoptosis.

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  • 1Division of Biological Chemistry, Shibaura Institute of Technology, 3-7-5 Toyosu, Kohtoh-ku, Tokyo 135-8548, Japan.


In the present study, we investigated the influence of the oxidative damage to astrocytes on neuronal cell survival using cultures of rat cerebral astrocytes and neurons. The exposure of astrocytes to hyperbaric oxygen induced a time-dependent apoptotic cell death, as observed by DNA ladder assessment. When astrocytes damaged by oxidative stress were cocultured with normal neurons from the cerebrum of a newborn rat, neuronal cell death was markedly induced, although normal astrocytes not subjected to hyperoxia cocultured with normal neurons showed no neuronal cell apoptosis. It was found that either the supernatant from the homogenate of astrocytes cultured in hyperbaric oxygen atmosphere or a protein mixture extracted from the supernatant induced neuronal cell death. The level of protein carbonyls, an index of protein oxidation analysis, in cultured astrocytes increased significantly with oxidative stress, and vitamin E inhibited the increase in the level of such oxidized proteins in astrocytes. Furthermore, a two-dimensional (2D) electrophoresis of a protein mixture extracted from the supernatant showed several changes in proteins. These results imply that reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by oxidative stress attack astrocytes to induce oxidatively denatured proteins in the cells that act as a neurotoxic factor, and that vitamin E protects neurons by inhibiting astrocyte apoptosis caused by oxidative stress.

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