N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent and -independent cytotoxic effects of Dictyostelium discoideum differentiation-inducing factor-1 on rat cortical neurons
Differentiation-inducing factor-1 (DIF-1) is a chlorinated alkylphenone (small lipophilic hormone) that induces stalk cell formation in the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum. Recent studies have revealed that DIF-1 inhibits growth and induces the differentiation of mammalian tumor cells. The present study examines the effects of DIF-1 on rat cortical neurons in primary culture. We found that DIF-1 induced rapid neuronal cell death. The release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), as an indicator of cell death, increased dose-dependently with DIF-1. The release of LDH was inhibited by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists MK801 and AP5, suggesting that the NMDA receptor is involved in the induction of cell death by DIF-1. However, glutamate cytotoxicity could not explain the entire action of DIF-1 on neurons because the estimated concentration of glutamate around DIF-1-treated neurons was below 50 μM and DIF-1 caused more severe cell death than 500 μM glutamate. We discovered that another portion of DIF-1 cytotoxicity is independent of the NMDA receptor; that is, coaddition of DIF-1 and MK801 induced dendritic beading and increased expression of the immediate early genes c-fos and zif/268. These results indicate that DIF-1 induces rapid cell death via both NMDA receptor-dependent and -independent pathways in rat cortical neurons..
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