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Nat Med. 1998 Aug;4(8):957-62.

Par-4 is a mediator of neuronal degeneration associated with the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease.

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  • 1Sanders-Brown Research Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536, USA.


Prostate apoptosis response-4 (Par-4) is a protein containing both a leucine zipper and a death domain that was isolated by differential screening for genes upregulated in prostate cancer cells undergoing apoptosis. Par-4 is expressed in the nervous system, where its function is unknown. In Alzheimer disease (AD), neurons may die by apoptosis, and amyloid beta-protein (A beta) may play a role in this. We report here that Par-4 expression is increased in vulnerable neurons in AD brain and is induced in cultured neurons undergoing apoptosis. Blockade of Par-4 expression or function prevented neuronal apoptosis induced by Ab and trophic factor withdrawal. Par-4 expression was enhanced, and mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis exacerbated, in cells expressing presenilin-1 mutations associated with early-onset inherited AD.

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