More MS news articles for May 2002

Extracellular proteases and neuronal cell death

Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand) 2002 Mar;48(2):151-61
Siao CJ, Tsirka SE.
Department and Program in Pharmacology, University Medical Center, SUNY at Stony Brook, 11794-8651, USA.

Neuronal cell death occurs during development of the central nervous system as well as in pathological situations such as acute injury and progressive degenerative diseases.

For instance, granule cells in the developing cerebellum and neuronal precursor cells in the cortex undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis.

There is currently strong debate conceming the mechanism of death in many degenerative events such as ischemia, blunt head trauma, excitotoxicity and neurodegenerative diseases, i.e. Alzheimer's disease.

Neurons can die a necrotic death when the initial insult is too great; apoptosis requires "planning." For example, the cell death seen in the core of an ischemic infarct is necrotic, while in the surrounding penumbra region the death is probably apoptotic.

Regardless of the degenerative pathway, damaged or dead neurons are a hallmark of many diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, glaucoma, ischemia and multiple sclerosis.

Molecules such as cytokines, chemokines, reactive nitrogen/oxygen species, and proteases play an important role in promoting and/or mediating neurodegeneration.

Proteases have been implicated in both physiological and pathological events, suggesting their intervention in key points when things go awry.

In this review we will summarize recent findings linking extracellular proteases with neuronal cell death in both human diseases and their animal models.