Calpain activation in okadaic-acid-induced neurodegeneration.Neuroreport 2006; 17(7):689-92N
Calpain activation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Okadaic acid, a protein phosphatase-2A inhibitor, has been used in Alzheimer's disease research models to increase tau phosphorylation and induce neuronal death. We previously reported that okadaic acid induced predominant activation of caspase-3 in immature neurons, but less activation in mature neurons. We found here that, in okadaic-acid-treated mature neurons, levels of an inactive form of m-calpain decreased and levels of calpain-cleaved spectrin and synapsin-I fragments increased, suggestive of calpain activation. Pretreatment with calpain inhibitor decreased lactate dehydrogenase release by 20% and increased average dendritic branch length by 50% compared with neurons treated with okadaic acid alone. These findings suggest that calpain is activated during okadaic-acid-induced neurodegeneration and calpain inhibition can be protective against it.