Inhibition of apoptosis-inducing factor translocation is involved in protective effects of hepatocyte growth factor against excitotoxic cell death in cultured hippocampal neurons.J Neurochem. 2005 Dec; 95(5):1277-86.JN
Although hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor are expressed in various regions of the brain, their effects and mechanism of action under pathological conditions remain to be determined. Over-activation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor, has been implicated in a variety of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. We investigated the effects of HGF on the NMDA-induced cell death in cultured hippocampal neurons and sought to explore their mechanisms. NMDA-induced cell death and increase in the number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells were prevented by HGF treatment. Although neither the total amounts nor the mitochondrial localization of Bax, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL were affected, caspase 3 activity was increased after NMDA exposure. Treatment with HGF partially prevented this NMDA-induced activation of caspase 3. Although the amount of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) was not altered, translocation of AIF into the nucleus was detected after NMDA exposure. This NMDA-induced AIF translocation was reduced by treatment with HGF. In addition, increased poly(ADP-ribose) polymer formation after NMDA exposure was attenuated by treatment with HGF. These results suggest that the protective effects of HGF against NMDA-induced neurotoxicity are mediated via the partial prevention of caspase 3 activity and the inhibition of AIF translocation to the nucleus.