The Journal of biological chemistry

N-Methyl-D-aspartate inhibits apoptosis through activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in cerebellar granule neurons. A role for insulin receptor substrate-1 in the neurotrophic action of n-methyl-D-aspartate and its inhibition by ethanol.

PMID 9756898


Primary cultured rat cerebellar granule neurons underwent apoptosis when switched from medium containing 25 mM K+ to one containing 5 mM K+. N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) protected granule neurons from apoptosis in medium containing 5 mM K+. Inhibition of apoptosis by NMDA was blocked by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) inhibitor LY294002, but it was unaffected by the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor PD 98059. The antiapoptotic action of NMDA was associated with an increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1), an increase in the binding of the regulatory subunit of PI 3-kinase to IRS-1, and a stimulation of PI 3-kinase activity. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, NMDA was unable to prevent apoptosis or to phosphorylate IRS-1 and activate PI 3-kinase. Significant inhibition of NMDA-mediated neuronal survival by ethanol (10-15%) was observed at 1 mM, and inhibition was half-maximal at 45-50 mM. Inhibition of neuronal survival by ethanol corresponded with a marked reduction in the capacity of NMDA to increase the concentration of intracellular Ca2+, phosphorylate IRS-1, and activate PI 3-kinase. These data demonstrate that the neurotrophic action of NMDA and its inhibition by ethanol are mediated by alterations in the activity of a PI 3-kinase-dependent antiapoptotic signaling pathway.

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