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Neurosci Bull. 2008 Apr;24(2):117-23. doi: 10.1007/s12264-008-0117-3.

Mechanisms of lysosomal proteases participating in cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal death.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Disease, Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou 215123, China.


There are three different types of cell death, including apoptosis (Type I), autophagic cell death (Type II), and necrosis (Type III). Ischemic neuronal death influences stroke development and progression. Lysosomes are important organelles having an acidic milieu to maintain cellular metabolism by degrading unneeded extra- and intracellular substances. Lysosomal enzymes, including cathepsins and some lipid hydrolases, when secreted following rupture of the lysosomal membrane, can be very harmful to their environment, which results in pathological destruction of cellular structures. Since lysosomes contain catalytic enzymes for degrading proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, it seems natural that they should participate in cellular death and dismantling. In this review, we discuss the recent developments in ischemic neuronal death, and present the possible molecular mechanisms that the lysosomal enzymes participate in the three different types of cell death in ischemic brain damage. Moreover, the research related to the selective cathepsin inhibitors may provide a novel therapeutic target for treating stroke and promoting recovery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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