Tumor-necrosis-factor-related apoptosis-inducing-ligand (TRAIL)-mediated death of neurons in living human brain tissue is inhibited by flupirtine-maleate

Institute of Neuroimmunology, Neuroscience Research Center, Charité, University-Medicine, NWFZ 2680, Charité, 10098 Berlin, Germany.
Journal of Neuroimmunology (Impact Factor: 2.47). 11/2005; 167(1-2):204-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2005.06.027
Source: PubMed


Neuronal damage mediated by the TRAIL-system might be involved in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. Here we used an investigator-independent approach to quantify TRAIL-mediated death of total CNS cells and neurons in a living human brain slice culture system, a model which is much closer to the in vivo situation than dissociated cell culture. We observed dose-dependent TRAIL-mediated death of both total human CNS cells and neurons, which was prevented by flupirtine-maleate, a centrally acting analgesic drug with proposed neuroprotective properties. Our data suggest flupirtine-maleate as an orally available neuroprotective approach in the course of neuroinflammation.

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    • "Furthermore, flupirtinmaleate (Katadolon ® ) was discussed as an NMDA receptor antagonist (Muller and others 1996; Seyfried and others 2000), and studies on human brain slices also showed that flupirtinmaleate is neuroprotective. Although the mechanism underlying this effect is not well understood (Dorr and others 2005), this agent is thought to antagonize the outward flow of K + ions. As an indirect NMDA receptor antagonist, it stabilizes the membrane potential and, therefore, the Mg 2+ block of NMDA receptors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) responsive subclass of glutamate receptors is an important mechanism of excitatory synaptic transmission. Moreover, NMDA receptors are widely involved in many forms of synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), which are thought to underlie complex tasks, including learning and memory. Dysfunction of these ligand-gated cation channels has been identified as an underlying molecular mechanism in neurological disorders ranging from acute stroke to chronic neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Excessive glutamate levels have been detected following brain trauma and cerebral ischemia, resulting in an unregulated stimulation of NMDA receptors. These conditions are thought to elicit a cascade of excitation-mediated neuronal damage where massive increases in intracellular calcium concentrations finally trigger neuronal damage and apoptosis. Consistent with the hypothesis of NMDA receptors as essential mediators of excitotoxicity, the different functional domains of these ion channels have been identified as potential targets for neuroprotective agents. Following an initial hype on potential NMDA receptor therapeutics, the authors currently see a period of skepticism that, in reverse, appears to neglect the therapeutic potential of this receptor class. This review attempts a reappraisal of this important class of neurotransmitter receptors, with a focus on NMDA receptor heterogeneity, ligand binding domains, and candidate diseases for a potential neuroprotective therapy.
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    • "Indeed, contradictive results have been generated in the studies of human adult astrocytes. Leucine zipper-tagged TRAIL was reported to kill human astrocytes isolated from adult brains (Walczak et al., 1999); antibody cross-linked Flag-tagged TRAIL caused apoptotic cell death in human adult brain slices (Nitsch et al., 2000; Dorr et al., 2005). Immunohistochemistry locates DR4 but not DR5 in the astrocytes of human adult epileptic brains (Dorr et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Human astrocytes express Fas yet are resistant to Fas-induced apoptosis. Here, we report that calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is constitutively activated in human astrocytes and protects the cells from apoptotic stimulation by Fas agonist. Once stimulated, Fas recruits Fas-associated death domain and caspase-8 for the assembly of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC); however, caspase-8 cleavage is inhibited in the DISC. Inhibition of CaMKII kinase activity inhibits the expression of phosphoprotein enriched astrocytes-15 kDa/phosphoprotein enriched in diabetes (PEA-15/PED) and cellular Fas-associated death domain-like interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP), thus releasing their inhibition of caspase-8 cleavage. Inhibition of PEA-15/PED or c-FLIP by small interfering RNA sensitizes human astrocytes to Fas-induced apoptosis. In contrast, inhibition of CaMKII, PEA-15, or c-FLIP does not affect the sensitivity of human astrocytes to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). TRAIL death receptors (DR4, DR5) are weakly expressed at mRNA, protein, and cell surface levels and thus fail to mediate the assembly of the DISC in human astrocytes. Overexpression of DR5 restores TRAIL signaling pathways and sensitizes the human astrocytes to TRAIL-induced apoptosis if CaMKII kinase activity or expression of PEA-15 and c-FLIP is inhibited; the results suggest that CaMKII-mediated pathways prevent TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human astrocytes under conditions in which TRAIL death receptors are upregulated. This study has therefore identified the molecular mechanisms that protect normal human astrocytes from apoptosis induced by Fas ligand and TRAIL.
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