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J Neurochem. 2000 Oct;75(4):1548-56.

Insulin-like growth factor I prevents the development of sensitivity to kainate neurotoxicity in cerebellar granule cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts, USA.


This study reports that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) prevents cerebellar granule cells from developing sensitivity to kainate neurotoxicity. Sensitivity to kainate neurotoxicity normally develops 5-6 days after switching cultures to a serum-free medium containing 25 mM K(+). Addition of either IGF-I or insulin to the serum-free medium at the time of the switch prevented the development of sensitivity to kainate, whereas brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3, neurotrophin-4, and nerve growth factor did not. The dose-response curves indicated IGF-I was more potent than insulin, favoring the assignment of the former as the physiological protective agent. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K) inhibitors wortmannin (10-100 nM) and LY 294002 (0.3-1 microM) abolished the protection afforded by IGF-I. The p70 S6 kinase (p70(S6k)) inhibitor rapamycin (5-50 nM:) also abolished the protection afforded by IGF-I. The activities of both enzymes decreased in cultures switched to serum-free medium but increased when IGF-I was included; wortmannin (100 nM) lowered the activity of PI 3-K from 2 to 5 days after medium switch, whereas rapamycin (50 nM) prevented the increase observed for p70(S6k) activity over the same interval. The mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor U 0126 and the mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor SB 203580 did not abolish IGF-I protection. Kainate neurotoxicity was not prevented by Joro spider toxin; therefore, the development of kainate neurotoxicity could not be explained by the formation of calcium-permeable alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptors. These results indicate that IGF-I functions through a signal transduction pathway involving PI 3-K and p70(S6k) to prevent the development of sensitivity to kainate neurotoxicity in cerebellar granule cells.

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