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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition protects cultured cerebellar granule neurons from glutamate-mediated cell death.

Primary insults to the brain can initiate glutamate release that may result in excitotoxicity followed by neuronal cell death. This secondary process is mediated by both N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptors in vivo and requires new gene expression. Neuronal cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) expression is upregulated following brain insults, via glutamatergic and inflammatory mechanisms. The products of COX2 are bioactive prostanoids and reactive oxygen species that may play a role in neuronal survival. This study explores the role of neuronal COX2 in glutamate excitotoxicity using cultured cerebellar granule neurons (day 8 in vitro). Treatment with excitotoxic concentrations of glutamate or kainate transiently induced COX2 mRNA (two- and threefold at 6 h, respectively, p < 0.05, Dunnett) and prostaglandin production (five- and sixfold at 30 min, respectively, p < 0.05, Dunnett). COX2 induction peaked at toxic concentrations of these excitatory amino acids. Surprisingly, NMDA, L-quisqualate, and trans-ACPD did not induce COX2 mRNA at any concentration tested. The glutamate receptor antagonist NBQX (5 microM, AMPA/kainate receptor) completely inhibited kainate-induced COX2 mRNA and partially inhibited glutamate-induced COX2 (p < 0.05, Dunnett). Other glutamate receptor antagonists, such as MK-801 (1 microM, NMDA receptor) or MCPG (500 microM, class 1 metabotropic receptors), partially attenuated glutamate-induced COX2 mRNA. These antagonists all reduced steady-state COX2 mRNA (p < 0.05, Dunnett). To determine whether COX2 might be an effector of excitotoxic cell death, cerebellar granule cells were pretreated (24 h) with the COX2-specific enzyme inhibitor, DFU (5,5-dimethyl-3-(3-fluorophenyl)-4-(4-methylsulphonyl) phenyl-2((5)H)-furanone) prior to glutamate challenge. DFU (1 to 1000 nM) completely protected cultured neurons from glutamate-mediated neurotoxicity. Approximately 50% protection from NMDA-mediated neurotoxicity, and no protection from kainate-mediated neurotoxicity was observed. Therefore, glutamate-mediated COX2 induction contributes to excitotoxic neuronal death. These results suggest that glutamate, NMDA, and kainate neurotoxicity involve distinct excitotoxic pathways, and that the glutamate and NMDA pathways may intersect at the level of COX2.[1]


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