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-β (Aβ) 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 Aβ. We showed that in primary cultures of cortical neurons, NT-3 reduces Aβ-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 Aβ 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 Aβ-induced neuronal apoptosis. Together, these findings demonstrate that NT-3 signaling counters Aβ-dependent neuronal cell death and may represent an innovative therapeutic intervention to limit neuronal death in Alzheimer disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology