Cecilia Gabriel

Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Publications (9)47.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signalling controls a number of cerebral functions and dysfunctions including synaptogenesis, amyloid-beta accumulation, apoptosis and excitotoxicity. Using cultured cortical neurons prepared from either wild type or transgenic mice overexpressing a TGF-beta-responsive luciferase reporter gene (SBE-Luc), we demonstrated a progressive loss of TGF-beta signalling during neuronal maturation and survival. Moreover, we showed that neurons exhibit increasing amounts of the serine protease HtrA1 (high temperature responsive antigen 1) and corresponding cleavage products during both in vitro neuronal maturation and brain development. In parallel of its ability to promote degradation of TGF-beta1, we demonstrated that blockage of the proteolytic activity of HtrA1 leads to a restoration of TGF-beta signalling, subsequent overexpression of the serpin type -1 plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) and neuronal death. Altogether, we propose that the balance between HtrA1 and TGF-beta could be one of the critical events controlling both neuronal maturation and developmental survival.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 07/2008; 15(9):1408-16. · 8.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute brain injuries have been identified as a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). Because glutamate plays a pivotal role in these pathologies, we studied the influence of glutamate receptor activation on amyloid-beta (Abeta) production in primary cultures of cortical neurons. We found that sublethal NMDA receptor activation increased the production and secretion of Abeta. This effect was preceded by an increased expression of neuronal Kunitz protease inhibitory domain (KPI) containing amyloid-beta precursor protein (KPI-APP) followed by a shift from alpha-secretase to beta-secretase-mediated APP processing. This shift is a result of the inhibition of the alpha-secretase candidate tumor necrosis factor-alpha converting enzyme (TACE) when associated with neuronal KPI-APPs. This KPI-APP/TACE interaction was also present in AD brains. Thus, our findings reveal a cellular mechanism linking NMDA receptor activation to neuronal Abeta secretion. These results suggest that even mild deregulation of the glutamatergic neurotransmission may increase Abeta production and represent a causal risk factor for developing AD.
    Journal of Neuroscience 11/2005; 25(41):9367-77. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurotrophins are a family of growth factors that attenuate several forms of pathological neuronal cell death and may represent a putative therapeutic approach to neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer disease, amyloid-beta (Abeta) is thought to play a central role in the neuronal death occurring in brains of patients. In the present study, we evaluate the ability of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) to protect neurons against the toxicity induced by aggregated Abeta. We showed that in primary cultures of cortical neurons, NT-3 reduces Abeta-induced apoptosis by limiting caspase-8, caspase-9, and caspase-3 cleavage. This neuroprotective effect of NT-3 was concomitant to an increased level of Akt phosphorylation and was abolished by an inhibitor of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3K), LY294002. In parallel, NT-3 treatment reduced Abeta induced caspase-3 processing to control levels. In an attempt to link PI-3K/Akt to caspase inhibition, we evaluated the influence of the PI-3K/Akt axis on the expression of a member of the inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), the neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein-1. We demonstrated that NT-3 induces an up-regulation of neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein-1 expression in neurons that promotes the inhibition of Abeta-induced neuronal apoptosis. Together, these findings demonstrate that NT-3 signaling counters Abeta-dependent neuronal cell death and may represent an innovative therapeutic intervention to limit neuronal death in Alzheimer disease.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2005; 280(26):24941-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal deposition of Abeta (amyloid-beta peptide) is one of the hallmarks of AD (Alzheimer's disease). This peptide results from the processing and cleavage of its precursor protein, APP (amyloid-beta precursor protein). We have demonstrated previously that TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta), which is overexpressed in AD patients, is capable of enhancing the synthesis of APP by astrocytes by a transcriptional mechanism leading to the accumulation of Abeta. In the present study, we aimed at further characterization of the molecular mechanisms sustaining this TGF-beta-dependent transcriptional activity. We report the following findings: first, TGF-beta is capable of inducing the transcriptional activity of a reporter gene construct corresponding to the +54/+74 region of the APP promoter, named APP(TRE) (APP TGF-beta-responsive element); secondly, although this effect is mediated by a transduction pathway involving Smad3 (signalling mother against decapentaplegic peptide 3) and Smad4, Smad2 or other Smads failed to induce the activity of APP(TRE). We also observed that the APP(TRE) sequence not only responds to the Smad3 transcription factor, but also the Sp1 (signal protein 1) transcription factor co-operates with Smads to potentiate the TGF-beta-dependent activation of APP. TGF-beta signalling induces the formation of nuclear complexes composed of Sp1, Smad3 and Smad4. Overall, the present study gives new insights for a better understanding of the fine molecular mechanisms occurring at the transcriptional level and regulating TGF-beta-dependent transcription. In the context of AD, our results provide additional evidence for a key role for TGF-beta in the regulation of Abeta production.
    Biochemical Journal 11/2004; 383(Pt 2):393-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of cytokines including neurotrophins have been tested for their neuroprotective activity against different paradigms of neuronal death. However, as for neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), their mechanisms of action have not been fully identified. By using cultures of mouse cortical neurons, we have investigated the molecular mechanisms by which neurotrophin-3 could protect cortical neurons against apoptosis. In a model of caspase-dependent apoptosis leading to the recruitment of active initiators caspase-8 and -9 and of executioner caspase-3, we have evidenced that NT-3 displayed an anti-apoptotic effect in a dose-dependent manner. First, we showed that, in cultured cortical neurons, NT-3 could promote extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3' (PI-3) kinase/Akt phosphorylation. Second, we showed that although the blockade of the Akt pathway prevented the anti-apoptotic effect of NT-3, blockade of the ERK pathway did not. Altogether, our data demonstrate that NT-3 displayed an anti-apoptotic effect on cultured cortical neurons through a mechanism involving the recruitment of the PI-3 kinase/Akt signaling pathway.
    Experimental Neurology 06/2004; 187(1):38-46. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulation of the amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) in the brain is crucial for development of Alzheimer's disease. Expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1), an immunosuppressive cytokine, has been correlated in vivo with Abeta accumulation in transgenic mice and recently with Abeta clearance by activated microglia. Here, we demonstrate that TGF-beta1 drives the production of Abeta40/42 by astrocytes leading to Abeta production in TGF-beta1 transgenic mice. First, TGF-beta1 induces the overexpression of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in astrocytes but not in neurons, involving a highly conserved TGF-beta1-responsive element in the 5'-untranslated region (+54/+74) of the APP promoter. Second, we demonstrated an increased release of soluble APP-beta which led to TGF-beta1-induced Abeta generation in both murine and human astrocytes. These results demonstrate that TGF-beta1 potentiates Abeta production in human astrocytes and may enhance the formation of plaques burden in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2003; 278(20):18408-18. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate the function of haem oxygenase in neuronal cell death or survival, we have determined in PC12 cells whether induction of haem oxygenase mRNA and protein or inhibition of haem oxygenase activity may be able to modulate the cell response to an oxidative stress. Inhibition of glutathione biosynthesis by buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) has indeed been demonstrated, in this cell line, to decrease the intracellular content of glutathione and to trigger a gradual and programmed cell death. Inhibition of haem oxygenase by zinc protoporphyrin IX, a potent inhibitor of this enzyme, or by a recently described peptidic inhibitor, induced a significant decrease in the toxicity of BSO. This protective action was not due to an alteration in the metabolism of glutathione and was still observed when the protecting agent was added several hours after BSO treatment. Induction of haem oxygenase-1 mRNA and protein by either haemin or pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate was associated with no protection or a significant reduction in the toxicity of BSO respectively. Our results indicate that induction of haem oxygenase-1 is not obligatorily associated with an improved resistance towards oxidative stress and suggest that a byproduct of haem degradation may also become detrimental.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 03/2003; 84(3):459-70. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha, a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, has been shown to protect neurons against excitotoxic and ischemic brain injuries, its mechanism of action remains unknown. In the present study, we used in vitro models of apoptotic or necrotic paradigms demonstrating that TGF-alpha rescues neurons from N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced excitotoxic death, with the obligatory presence of astrocytes. Because neuronal tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) release was shown to potentiate NMDA-induced excitotoxicity, we observed that TGF-alpha treatment reduced NMDA-induced increase of t-PA activity in mixed cultures of neurons and astrocytes. In addition, we showed that although TGF-alpha induces activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) in astrocytes, it failed to activate p42/p44 in neurons. Finally, we showed that TGF-alpha, by an ERK-dependent mechanism, stimulates the astrocytic expression of PAI-1, a t-PA inhibitor, which mediates the neuroprotective activity of TGF-alpha against NMDA-mediated excitotoxic neuronal death. Taken together, we indicate that TGF-alpha rescues neurons from NMDA-induced excitotoxicity in mixed cultures through inhibition of t-PA activity, involving PAI-1 overexpression by an ERK-dependent pathway in astrocytes.
    The FASEB Journal 03/2003; 17(2):277-9. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The intravenous injection of the serine protease, tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), has shown to benefit stroke patients by promoting early reperfusion. However, it has recently been suggested that t-PA activity, in the cerebral parenchyma, may also potentiate excitotoxic neuronal death. The present study has dealt with the role of the t-PA inhibitor, PAI-1, in the neuroprotective activity of the cytokine TGF-beta1 and focused on the transduction pathway involved in this effect. We demonstrated that PAI-1, produced by astrocytes, mediates the neuroprotective activity of TGF-beta 1 against N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated excitotoxicity. This t-PA inhibitor, PAI-1, protected neurons against NMDA-induced neuronal death by modulating the NMDA-evoked calcium influx. Finally, we showed that the activation of the Smad3-dependent transduction pathway mediates the TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of PAI-1 and subsequent neuroprotection. Overall, this study underlines the critical role of the t-PA/PAI-1 axis in the regulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 01/2003; 21(4):634-44. · 3.84 Impact Factor