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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 5;277(14):12280-7. Epub 2002 Jan 14.

Corticotropin-releasing hormone induces Fas ligand production and apoptosis in PC12 cells via activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase.

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Departments of Clinical Chemistry-Biochemistry and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete GR-711 10, Greece.


Recent experimental findings involve corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the cellular response to noxious stimuli and possibly apoptosis. The aim of the present work was to examine the effect of CRH on apoptosis and the Fas/Fas ligand system in an in vitro model, the PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cell line, which is widely used in the study of apoptosis and at the same time expresses the CRH/CRH receptor system. We have found the following. CRH induced Fas ligand production and apoptosis. These effects were mediated by the CRH type 1 receptor because its antagonist antalarmin blocked CRH-induced apoptosis and Fas ligand expression. CRH activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, which was found to be essential for CRH-induced apoptosis and Fas ligand production. CRH also promoted a rapid and transient activation of ERK1/2, which, however, was not necessary for either CRH-induced apoptosis or Fas ligand production. Thus, CRH promotes PC12 apoptosis via the CRH type 1 receptor, which induces Fas ligand production via activation of p38.

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