Molecular neurobiology

IGF-1-Involved Negative Feedback of NR2B NMDA Subunits Protects Cultured Hippocampal Neurons Against NMDA-Induced Excitotoxicity.

PMID 26758454


Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a multifunctional protein involved in neuronal polarity and axonal guidance. In our previous study, it was discovered that IGF-1 alleviated 50-μM NMDA-induced excitotoxicity against neuronal autophagy via depression of NR2B p-Ser1303 activation. However, it was found that NMDA at a higher dose did not cause neuronal autophagy. And, the performance of IGF-1 under severe excitotoxicity still needs to be clarified. In this study, we observed that IGF-1 can salvage the hippocampal neurons in an autophagy-independent manner after 150-μM NMDA exposure using thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Western blot assay, and transmission electron microscopy. In addition, over-activation of post-synaptic NMDARs was found with the whole-cell patch clamp recording method. In order to explore whether there is a positive feedback way for post-synaptic NMDARs and the different pathway caused by 150xa0μM NMDA, the phosphorylation level of Fyn and the phosphorylation site of NR2B were investigated. It was observed that NR2B p-Tyr1472 was increased by the activation of Fyn after 150-μM NMDA exposure. When the neutralizing antibody against NR2B p-Ser1303 was added into the medium, both the activations of Fyn and NR2B p-Tyr1472 were blocked, suggesting NR2B p-Ser1303 may be the initial step of NMDA-induced excitotoxicity. In addition, since IGF-1 can block the initial step of NR2B activation, its effect is concluded to continue with the development of excitotoxicity. Overall, this study strongly indicates that the relationship between different phosphorylation sites of NR2B should be laid more emphasis on, which may be a vital target for the NR2B-involved excitotoxicity.

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