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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 22;277(47):44920-4. Epub 2002 Sep 18.

Janus kinase 2, an early target of alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated neuroprotection against Abeta-(1-42) amyloid.

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Vascular Biology Center, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912-2500, USA.


The molecular mechanisms of alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR)-mediated neuroprotection remain unclear. In this study we provide evidence that nicotine stimulation of alpha7 nAChR transduces signals to phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Akt via Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) in a cascade, which results in neuroprotection. Exposure to beta-amyloid results in the activation of the apoptotic enzyme caspase-3 and cleavage of the DNA-repairing enzyme poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase. This cascade is inhibited by nicotine through JAK2 activation, and these effects are blocked by preincubation with the JAK2-specific inhibitor AG-490. We also found that pretreatment of cells with angiotensin II blocks the nicotine-induced activation of JAK2 via the AT(2) receptor and completely prevents alpha7 nAChR-mediated neuroprotective effects further suggesting a pivotal role for JAK2. These findings identify novel mechanisms of receptor interactions relevant to neuronal viability and suggest novel therapeutic strategies to optimize neuroprotection.

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