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Lab Invest. 2005 Dec;85(12):1471-80.

ATM deficiency induces oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress in astrocytes.

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Department of Carcinogenesis, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville, TX 78957, USA.


ATM kinase, the product of the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (Atm) gene, is activated by genomic damage. ATM plays a crucial role in cell growth and development. Here we report that primary astrocytes isolated from ATM-deficient mice grow slowly, become senescent, and die in culture. However, before reaching senescence, these primary Atm(-/-) astrocytes, like Atm(-/-) lymphocytes, show increased spontaneous DNA synthesis. These astrocytes also show markers of oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, including increased levels of heat shock proteins (HSP70 and GRP78), malondialdehyde adducts, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, procaspase 12 cleavage, and redox-sensitive phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2). In addition, HSP70 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation are upregulated in the cerebella of ATM-deficient mice. This increase in ERK1/2 phosphorylation is seen primarily in cerebellar astrocytes, or Bergmann glia, near degenerating Purkinje cells. ERK1/2 activation and astrogliosis are also found in other parts of the brain, for example, the cortex. We conclude that ATM deficiency induces intrinsic growth defects, oxidative stress, ER stress, and ERKs activation in astrocytes.

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