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Exp Neurol. 2002 Jul;176(1):203-12.

Induction and activation of protein kinase C delta in hippocampus and cortex after kainic acid treatment.

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A.1. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.


Various isoforms of protein kinase C (PKC), especially the novel PKC subtypes delta, epsilon, and the atypical subtype PKC zeta, are involved in delayed cell death. We studied the expression and late activation of the latter PKC isoforms in comparison with classic PKC alpha, beta, and gamma in the brains of rats exposed to systemic kainate injection. The expression of PKC delta mRNA was strikingly upregulated (13-fold) in the cortex and the CA1 and CA3 hippocampal regions on 1 day after kainate administration, whereas PKC zeta mRNA was only moderately increased (about 100%) in these three brain regions on day 2 following the drug. PKC epsilon mRNA was slightly increased only in the cortex on days 2 and 6, while the mRNA levels of the classic PKC subtypes (alpha, beta, and gamma) remained unchanged or decreased after the treatment. Immunoblotting analyses revealed that the level of PKC delta protein started to increase on day 1 after kainate and was significantly elevated on day 2 in both the membrane and cytosol fractions of cortex and hippocampus. PKC epsilon protein only showed a marginal increase and the level of PKC zeta protein remained unaltered in response to the treatment. Cortical and CA1-3 pyramidal neurons displayed strong immunoreactivity for PKC delta on days 1 and 2, and microglia on days 1, 2, and 4 after the drug. The results indicate that the expression of apoptosis-associated isoforms of PKC, most notably that of delta, but to lesser extent also that of epsilon and zeta, is increased during kainate-induced neuronal death. The predominant induction of PKC delta in neurons and microglia suggests that PKC delta could be the major mediator or modulator of apoptotic and inflammatory responses to excitotoxic insults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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