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J Cell Biol. 1998 Sep 21;142(6):1583-93.

Blocking cytochrome c activity within intact neurons inhibits apoptosis.

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Eisai London Research Laboratories, Bernard Katz Building, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Cytochrome c has been shown to play a role in cell-free models of apoptosis. During NGF withdrawal-induced apoptosis of intact rat superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons, we observe the redistribution of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm. This redistribution is not inhibited by the caspase inhibitor Z-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone (ZVADfmk) but is blocked by either of the neuronal survival agents 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)adenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (CPT-cAMP) or cycloheximide. Moreover, microinjection of SCG neurons with antibody to cytochrome c blocks NGF withdrawal-induced apoptosis. However, microinjection of SCG neurons with cytochrome c does not alter the rate of apoptosis in either the presence or absence of NGF. These data suggest that cytochrome c is an intrinsic but not limiting component of the neuronal apoptotic pathway.

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