Kainic acid-induced excitotoxicity is associated with a complex c-Fos and c-Jun response which does not preclude either cell death or survival.J Neurobiol. 1997 Sep; 33(3):232-46.JN
c-fos and c-jun mRNA induction and c-Fos and c-Jun protein expression were examined in the brains of adult rats subjected to systemic kainic acid (KA) injection at convulsant doses. Induction of c-fos and c-jun mRNA, as seen with in situ hybridization, occurred in the piriform and entorhinal cortices, neocortex, amygdala, hippocampus, dentate gyrus, and discrete thalamic nuclei. This was followed by c-Fos protein expression, as revealed with immunohistochemistry, in the same regions. However, the distribution of c-Jun protein expression differed depending on the antibody used. The distribution of cells immunostained with the antibody c-Jun (AB-1) was similar to that of c-jun mRNA, but the distribution of cells immunostained with the antibody c-Jun/AP1 (N) was restricted to a few neurons in the pyramidal cell layer of CA1 and CA3, layer II of the piriform and entorhinal cortices, basal amygdala, and discrete thalamic nuclei. Although the regional distribution of c-Fos- and c-Jun-immunoreactive cells in the hippocampus, layer II of the entorhinal and piriform cortices, basal amygdala, and discrete thalamic nuclei matched the distribution of cells committed to dying, c-Fos- and c-Jun-immunoreactive cells in the neocortex and dentate gyrus survived. Therefore, the present data show that c-fos and c-jun are not predictors of either cell death or survival, but rather, markers of cells sensitive to KA excitotoxicity. Western blots to c-Fos showed a double band at p62 in samples containing the hippocampus and entorhinal and piriform cortices (hip samples) and in samples containing the neocortex (cortex samples). The upper band was abolished following preincubation of the samples with alkaline phosphatase, thus suggesting c-Fos phosphorylation. Western blots to c-Jun (AB-1) showed a single band at about p39 in hip and cortex. However, Western blots to c-Jun/AP1 (N) identified two bands. One band at about p39 was seen in control rats and the cortex of KA-treated rats. Another band at p26 was observed only in hip samples of KA-treated rats. In addition, decreased c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK-1) expression, as revealed on Western blots, was coincidental with the appearance of the p26 c-Jun-immunoreactive band in KA-treated rats. These results show that c-Fos and different Jun-related antigens are expressed following KA excitotoxicity, and that posttranslational modifications involving phosphorylation of c-Fos and Jun(s) may occur following KA injection. These results also stress the necessity of examining the composition of Fos and Jun-related antigens and the metabolic state of Fos and Jun(s) in different experimental models of nervous system injury.