Neuroprotection mediated by glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor: involvement of a reduction of NMDA-induced calcium influx by the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.
Auteur : Nicole O, Ali C, Docagne F, Plawinski L, MacKenzie ET, Vivien D, Buisson A
Année : 2001
Journal : J Neurosci 1529-2401
PubMed Id : 11312287
The glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is first characterized for its trophic activity on dopaminergic neurons. Recent data suggested that GDNF could modulate the neuronal death induced by ischemia. The purpose of this study was to characterize the influence of GDNF on cultured cortical neurons subjected to two paradigms of injury (necrosis and apoptosis) that have been identified during cerebral ischemia and to determine the molecular mechanisms involved. First, we demonstrated that both neurons and astrocytes express the mRNA and the protein for GDNF and its receptor complex (GFRalpha-1 and c-Ret). Next, we showed that the application of recombinant human GDNF to cortical neurons and astrocytes induces the activation of the MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway, as visualized by an increase in the phosphorylated forms of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs). Thereafter, we demonstrated that GDNF fails to prevent apoptotic neuronal death but selectively attenuates slowly triggered NMDA-induced excitotoxic neuronal death via a direct effect on cortical neurons. To further characterize the neuroprotective mechanisms of GDNF against NMDA-mediated neuronal death, we showed that a pretreatment with GDNF reduces NMDA-induced calcium influx. This effect likely results from a reduction of NMDA receptor activity rather than an enhanced buffering or extrusion capacity for calcium. Finally, we also demonstrated that an ERKs activation pathway is necessary for GDNF-mediated reduction of the NMDA-induced calcium response. Together, these results describe a novel mechanism by which the activation of MAPK induced by GDNF modulates NMDA receptor activity, a mechanism that could be responsible for the neuroprotective effect of GDNF in acute brain injury.