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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Aug;1053:84-96.

Neuroprotection by NGF in the PC12 in vitro OGD model: involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases and gene expression.

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Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


Neurodegenerative disorders and chronic disability due to stroke in the brain or spinal cord afflict a large sector of the population. To investigate the mechanism involved in ischemic stroke and to develop neuroprotective drugs/therapies, in vivo and in vitro, pharmacological models are needed. To investigate the cellular and molecular neuroprotective mechanisms of nerve growth factor (NGF), a member of the nervous system neurotrophin family of growth factors, under ischemia, we used an oxygen-glucose-deprivation (OGD) device and pheochromocytoma PC12 cells exposed to a paradigm of ischemic insult. Pretreatment of the cultures with 50 ng/mL of NGF, 18 h prior to OGD insult, conferred 30% of neuroprotection. Time-course experiments showed marked activation of the ERK, JNK, and p-38 MAPK isoforms during the OGD phase, but not during OGD reperfusion. Pretreatment of the cultures with 50 ng/mL of NGF, 18 h prior to OGD insult, resulted in 50% attenuation of OGD-induced activation of JNK 1, and 20% and 50% attenuation of OGD-induced activation of p-38 alpha and beta, respectively. The effect of NGF on gene expression in the PC12 ischemic model using Affymatrix Rat DNA-Microarray technology indicates that only 6% of the genes are differentially regulated (induced/suppressed) by OGD insult and/or NGF. These findings support the notion that pretreatment with NGF confers neuroprotection from OGD insult, a phenomenon coincidentally related to differential inhibition of MAPK stress kinase isoforms and differential gene expression. This ischemic model may be useful to investigate molecular mechanisms of OGD-induced neurotoxicity and NGF-induced neuroprotection, and to generate novel therapeutic concepts for stroke treatment.

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