Caspase inhibitors reduce the apoptotic but not necrotic component of kainate injury in primary murine cortical neuronal cultures

Alexander Glassford, Jong Eun Lee, Lijun Xu, Rona G. Giffard

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Excitotoxicity has been demonstrated to play a major role in ischemic neuronal injury. While the necrotic component of excitotoxicity has been well demonstrated, apoptosis has also been shown to play a role. We sought to quantitate and modulate the apoptotic component of kainate-induced injury. Experiments were performed in mouse primary cortical neuronal cultures after three or 10 days in vitro. Cell death was assessed by Hoechst/propidium iodide staining and cell counting. Apoptosis was further confirmed with inhibition by caspase inhibitors. Exposure of three-day old neurons to 100 μM kainate produced an injury in which 56% ± 0.9% of cells showed apoptotic nuclei and 13.5% ± 2.0% showed necrotic nuclei. After 10 days in vitro neurons were more easily injured by kainate, but the cell death had primarily necrotic characteristics. Inhibition of both caspases 1 and 3 significantly reduced the apoptotic injury of 3-day old neurons. Neither reduced the necrotic component. Inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide was also effective in reducing the apoptotic injury without affecting the necrotic injury. Kainate injury causes both apoptosis and necrosis, with the injury depending on both the dose of kainate and the age of the culture. The apoptotic component can be selectively reduced by caspase inhibition or cycloheximide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-800
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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