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J Neurochem. 1997 Apr;68(4):1612-21.

Role of calpain- and interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme-like proteases in the beta-amyloid-induced death of rat hippocampal neurons in culture.

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Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


We investigated the potential role of different proteases in the death of cultured rat hippocampal pyramidal neurons induced by beta-amyloid (A beta) (25-35). Both A beta(25-35)- and staurosporine-induced death of these neurons appeared to involve apoptosis, as indicated using Hoechst 33342 and terminal dUDP nick end labeling staining, whereas NMDA-induced death appeared more complex. Two irreversible inhibitors of the interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme (ICE) and related proteases, Z-Val-Ala-Asp-CH2F and acetyl-Tyr-Val-Ala-Asp-chloromethyl ketone, blocked neuronal death produced by A beta(25-35), staurosporine, and NMDA to differing extents. Furthermore, MDL 28,170, a selective inhibitor of the calcium-regulated protease calpain, also inhibited death induced by all agents. A beta(25-35) and staurosporine stimulated the breakdown of the protein spectrin, a calpain substrate. Spectrin breakdown was inhibited by MDL 28,170 but not by ICE inhibitors. Leupeptin was only effective in preventing NMDA-induced death. These results support the role of apoptosis in neuronal death due to A beta(25-35) treatment and also suggest a role for calcium-regulated proteases in this process.

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