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Neurochem Int. 2006 Jun;48(8):696-702. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Depletion of intracellular Ca2+ store itself may be a major factor in thapsigargin-induced ER stress and apoptosis in PC12 cells.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


The mechanisms of intracellular calcium store depletion and store-related Ca(2+) dysregulation in relation to apoptotic cell death in PC12 cells were investigated at physiological temperatures with a leak-resistant fluorescent indicator dye Fura-PE3/AM by a cooled CCD imaging analysis system. Electron microscopic observations have shown thapsigargin (TG; 100 nM)-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells. Thorough starvation of stored Ca(2+) by BAPTA/AM (50 microM), or La(3+) (100 microM) enhanced while dantrolene (100 microM) attenuated the TG-induced apoptosis by preventing a calcium release from internal stores. An immunoblotting analysis revealed an enhanced expression of GRP78, the hallmark of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress when cells were treated by TG along with BAPTA/AM. These results indicate that the depletion of the intracellular Ca(2+) stores itself induces the ER stress and apoptosis in PC12 cells without any involvement of the capacitative calcium entry (CCE) or a sustained elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) concentrations ([Ca(2+)](i)).

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