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Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Feb;47(1):394-8. doi: 10.1007/s12035-012-8354-x. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Caspase-3 mediates in part hippocampal apoptosis in sepsis.

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Laboratory of Neurosciences and National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM), Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, Health Sciences Unit, University of Southern Santa Catarina, 88806-000, Criciúma, Santa Catarina, Brazil.


The brain is one of the first organs affected during sepsis development resulting in apoptosis for a short-term and cognitive impairment for a long-term. Despite its importance, the mechanisms of brain dysfunction during sepsis are not fully elucidated. Thus, we here, in an animal model of sepsis, evaluated apoptosis in the dentate gyrus cell layer of the hippocampus to document the involvement of caspase-3 in the pathogenesis of neuronal apoptosis. Wistar rats sham-operated or submitted to the cecal ligation and perforation (CLP) procedure were killed at 12, 24, 48 h, and 10 days after surgery for the determination of caspase-3 and apoptosis rate. In a separate cohort of animals, a caspase-3-specific inhibitor was administered and animals were killed at 12 h after sepsis. An increase in the number of apoptotic cells 12, 24, and 48 h by histopathological evaluations and an increase of caspase-3 apoptotic cells 12 and 24 h after sepsis induction were observed. The caspase-3 inhibitor decreases the number of apoptotic cells by histopathological evaluations but not by immunohistochemistry evaluations. Caspase-3 is involved in part in apoptosis in the dentate gyrus cell layer of the hippocampus in septic rats submitted by CLP.

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