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Exp Neurol. 1999 Feb;155(2):302-14.

The endoplasmic reticulum stress-responsive protein GRP78 protects neurons against excitotoxicity and apoptosis: suppression of oxidative stress and stabilization of calcium homeostasis.

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Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 40536, USA.


The 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) is localized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and its expression is increased by environmental stressors in many types of nonneuronal cells. We report that levels of GRP78 are increased in cultured rat hippocampal neurons exposed to glutamate and oxidative insults (Fe2+ and amyloid beta-peptide) and that treatment of cultures with a GRP78 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide increases neuronal death following exposure to each insult. GRP78 antisense treatment enhanced apoptosis of differentiated PC12 cells following NGF withdrawal or exposure to staurosporine. Pretreatment of hippocampal cells with 2-deoxy-d-glucose, a potent inducer of GRP78 expression, protected neurons against excitotoxic and oxidative injury. GRP78 expression may function to suppress oxidative stress and stabilize calcium homeostasis because treatment with GRP78 antisense resulted in increased levels of reactive oxygen species and intracellular calcium following exposure to glutamate and oxidative insults in hippocampal neurons. Dantrolene (a blocker of ER calcium release), uric acid (an antioxidant), and zVAD-fmk (a caspase inhibitor) each protected neurons against the death-enhancing action of GRP78 antisense. The data suggest that ER stress plays a role in neuronal cell death induced by an array of insults and that GRP78 serves a neuroprotective function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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