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Neurochem Res. 2002 Nov;27(11):1439-46.

Induction of apoptosis in cerebellar granule cells by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.

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Departamento de Química Biológica. IQUIFIB, Universidad de Buenos Aires, CONICET, Junín 956, Buenos Aires (1113), Argentina.


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and derivatives are herbicides widely used in Argentina and other parts of the world. Exposure to 2,4-D, its ester and salt formulations, have been associated with a range of adverse health effects in humans and different animal species, from embryotoxicity and teratogenicity to neurotoxicity. In this work, we demonstrate that after 24 hs of treatment with 1 and 2 mM 2,4-D there is an induction of apoptosis in cerebellar granule cells (CGC) in culture. However, with 2 mM 2,4-D one population of CGC developed features of apoptosis while another appeared to die by necrosis. This process is associated with an increase in caspase-3 activity after 12 hs of treatment with the herbicide, which is preceded by cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. Treatment of CGC with 2,4-D appears to induce apoptosis by a direct effect on mitochondria producing cytochrome c release and consequently activation of caspase-3, being mitochondrial damage sufficient for triggering the events that may cause apoptosis.

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