In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an abnormal increase of glutamate in the central nervous system indicates that it may play a key role in motor neuron death. The neuronal accumulation of phosphorylated neurofilaments (NFs) suggests an alteration of phosphorylation of NFs is also involved. Rat cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) are sensitive to glutamate neurotoxicity and provide a suitable model system for clarifying its mechanisms. Using cultured CGCs, we investigated the relationship between glutamate neurotoxicity and the phosphorylation of NFs. Because glutamate showed a dose-dependent neurotoxicity for CGCs, we adopted a 10 μM glutamate treatment, which produced no acute neurotoxicity during the experiments. The number of phosphorylated heavy subunits of neurofilaments (NF-Hs) increased to approximately twice that of the control after 72 h, although the total number of NF-Hs remained constant throughout the experiment. The phosphorylation of NF-Hs was significantly suppressed by the AMPA-receptor antagonist CNQX, but not by the NMDA-receptor antagonist MK-801. Our findings therefore suggest that exposure to a low concentration of glutamate enhances the phosphorylation of NF-Hs, mainly via the AMPA receptor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology