Neuroprotection against focal ischemic brain injury by inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and attenuation of the mitochondrial apoptosis-signaling pathway.J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2005; 25(6):694-712JC
c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is an important stress-responsive kinase that is activated by various forms of brain insults. In this study, we have examined the role of JNK activation in neuronal cell death in a murine model of focal ischemia and reperfusion; furthermore, we investigated the mechanism of JNK in apoptosis signaling, focusing on the mitochondrial-signaling pathway. We show here that JNK activity was induced in the brain 0.5 to 24 h after ischemia. Systemic administration of SP600125, a small molecule JNK-specific inhibitor, diminished JNK activity after ischemia and dose-dependently reduced infarct volume. c-Jun N-terminal kinase inhibition also attenuated ischemia-induced expression of Bim, Hrk/DP5, and Fas, but not the expression of Bcl-2 or FasL. In strong support of a role for JNK in promoting the mitochondrial apoptosis-signaling pathway, JNK inhibition prevented ischemia-induced mitochondrial translocation of Bax and Bim, release of cytochrome c and Smac, and activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3. The potential mechanism by which JNK promoted Bax translocation after ischemia was further studied using coimmunoprecipitation, and the results revealed that JNK activation caused serine phosphorylation of 14-3-3, a cytoplasmic sequestration protein of Bax, leading to Bax disassociation from 14-3-3 and subsequent translocation to mitochondria. These results confirm the role of JNK as a critical cell death mediator in ischemic brain injury, and suggest that one of the mechanisms by which JNK triggers the mitochondrial apoptosis-signaling pathway is via promoting Bax and Bim translocation.