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Neurosci Res. 1995 Jan;21(3):191-8.

Neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of neuron-specific enolase on cultured neurons from embryonic rat brain.

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Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Neuroscience, Tokyo, Japan.


We previously reported that the gamma gamma-isozyme of enolase, NSE), one of the glycolytic enzymes, promoted the survival of embryonic rat neocortical neurons in culture, but alpha alpha-isozyme (non-neuronal enolase) had no effect. In the present study, the neurotrophic effects of NSE on cultured mesencephalic and spinal neurons from rat embryo were examined. NSE promoted the survival of neurons not only in neocortical cultures but also in mesencephalic and spinal cord cultures. Furthermore, NSE showed neuroprotective action on cultured neocortical neurons in a low-oxygen atmosphere. By contrast, non-neuronal enolase did not show any neurotrophic or neuroprotective activities. To clarify the mechanism of the neurotrophic effect of NSE, the binding of NSE to cultured neurons was determined by radio-receptor assay using 125I-labelled NSE. The specific binding, which was dose-dependent, saturable, and calcium-dependent, could be detected. These results suggest that NSE has neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects on rather a broad spectrum of neurons in the central nervous system. The existence of specific binding of NSE to cultured neurons suggests the possibility that receptor-like or carrier-like molecules on the neuronal surface are involved in the neurotrophic activity of NSE.

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