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

Two caspase-2 transcripts are expressed in rat hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia.

Caspase family genes play a critical role in the initiation and execution of programmed cell death. Programmed cell death is an important contributor to neuronal loss following cerebral ischemia. We have performed a series of experiments to investigate the role of a specific caspase, caspase-2, in the development of delayed neuronal death following transient global ischemia in the rat. A rat ischemic brain cDNA library was screened, and two splice-variants of caspase-2 mRNA were identified, caspase-2S and caspase-2L, which were highly homologous with the sequences of human and mouse caspase-2S and caspase-2L genes, respectively. RT-PCR demonstrated an increase in expression of both caspase-2S and caspase-2L mRNA at 8, 24 and 72 h of reperfusion after global ischemia. The ratio of the two PCR fragments did not change significantly throughout the time course of reperfusion. Western blot with monoclonal antibody specific to the pro-apoptotic caspase-2L splice variant revealed an increase in procaspase-2 (51 kDa) protein from 4 to 72 h following ischemia compared with sham-operated controls. Furthermore, an approximately 30-kDa cleavage product appeared at 8 h and increased with increasing duration of reperfusion. Thus, caspase-2L is both translated and activated following transient global ischemia. Finally, intraventricular administration of the caspase-2-like inhibitor (VDVAD-FMK) 30 min before induction of ischemia decreased the number of CA1 neurons staining positively for DNA damage (Klenow-labeling assay) and increased the number of healthy-appearing CA1 neurons (cresyl violet) compared with vehicle-treated controls. Taken together, the data suggest that caspase-2 induction and activation are important mediators of delayed neuronal death following transient global ischemia.[1]


  1. Two caspase-2 transcripts are expressed in rat hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia. Jin, K., Nagayama, T., Mao, X., Kawaguchi, K., Hickey, R.W., Greenberg, D.A., Simon, R.P., Graham, S.H. J. Neurochem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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