In vitro studies have demonstrated that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activation rescue cerebellar granule neurons (CGN) from apoptotic death. It has been suggested that this effect mimics the transient glutamate receptors activation by mossy fibers during cerebellar development. We reported previously that CGN from postnatal days 2-4 (P2-P4) rats increased cell survival in response to NMDA treatment. In this study, we evaluated the effect of dizocilpine (MK-801) administrated for three consecutive days on the apoptotic death of CGN during development. MK-801 treatment decreased the large number of CGN condensed nuclei found at P8, but this drug increased the proportion of condensed nuclei at P16. We also found a high activity of caspases during the first postnatal week that decreased during development. MK-801 treatment did not modify the activity of caspase-8 at any age, but decreased caspase-9 activity at P8 and increased the activity of caspase-1 (76%) at P8, caspase-3 (160%) at P16 and caspase-9 (50%) at P12. These results suggest that NMDA receptor stimulation regulates the activity of caspases in a differential way and plays an important role in the in vivo CGN death during postnatal development.
- Dizocilpine Maleate
- Enzyme Activation
- Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
- Models, Animal
- Rats, Wistar
- Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate