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

Apoptotic, injury-induced cell death in cultured mouse murine motor neurons.

In order to develop in vitro models of CNS injury, astrocytes have been mechanically injured in culture to study reactive astrocytosis. However, scratch injury models of pure neuronal cultures have not yet been exploited to study programmed cell death (PCD). For this study, we examined model motor neurons (NSC19 cells) in culture and found time-dependent cell death in proximity (within 2.5 mm) to a physical scratch injury. Injury-induced cell death was apoptotic verified by positively-stained nuclei using both the in situ end-labeling (ISEL) procedure and Hoechst 33342. Unexpectedly, cells proximal to the injury site were not affected by the injury until 3 days later suggesting that adjacent motor neuron loss was dependent on a 'death signal' produced by direct injury to sister neurons. 'Executioners' in apoptosis include free radicals, cell cycle kinases and cysteine proteases (caspases). Extracellular serine proteases, such as thrombin and granzyme B, may activate such intracellular pathways and several inhibitors (serpins), such as CrmA, are effective in blocking apoptosis. Since protease nexin I (PNI), a serpin homologous with CrmA, prevents apoptosis of lumbar motor neurons and is increased after nerve injury, we examined mRNA by RT-PCR for PNI expression. Of interest, although we were unable to find significant levels of PNI message in NSC19 cells, we did detect it in the parent neuroblastoma.[1]


  1. Apoptotic, injury-induced cell death in cultured mouse murine motor neurons. Citron, B.A., Zhang, S.X., Smirnova, I.V., Festoff, B.W. Neurosci. Lett. (1997) [Pubmed]
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