An in vitro ischemia model was used to determine the molecular mechanisms responsible for the ischemia-induced neuronal cell death. Additionally, the neuronal protective mechanisms of anti-apoptotic drugs against ischemia were also evaluated. In this study, the primary neuronal cultures were incubated in an anoxic chamber with 95% of N 2 and 5% of CO 2 for various times. The death rate, degree of the apoptotic damage, reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential, translocation of Bax, release of cytochrome C and activation of caspase-9 and -3 were determined at each time point. Results showed that a Bax-regulated mitochondria- mediated apoptosis is responsible for the in vitro ischemia-induced neuronal death. Reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential plays no role in triggering this apoptosis. Furthermore, the anti-apoptotic drugs: furosemide (a Bax blocker) and ZVAD-fmk (caspase inhibitor) but not cyclosporine A (a MPT pore blocker), significantly protected the neurons against ischemia-induced damage. This provides an additional consideration in the future selection of new anti-ischemic drugs.
- In vitro ischemia
- Neuronal cell death