Although excitotoxic and oxidative stress play important roles in spinal neuron death, the exact mechanism is not fully understood. We examined cell damage of primary culture of 11-day-old rat spinal cord by addition of glutamate, nitric oxide (NO) or peroxynitrite (PN) with detection of nitrotyrosine (NT) or terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin in situ nick end labeling (TUNEL). With addition of glutamate, NOC18 (a slow NO releaser) or PN, immunoreactivity for NT became stronger in the cytoplasm of large motor neurons in the ventral horn at 6 to 48 hr and positive in the axons of the ventral horn at 24 to 48 hr. TUNEL positive nuclei were found in spinal large motor neurons from 24 hr, and the positive cell number greatly increased at 48 hr in contrast to the vehicle. Pretreatment of cultures with α-amino-3-hydroxy-5methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA)/kainate receptor antagonist, NO-suppressing agent, and antioxidant protected the immunoreactivity for NT or TUNEL. The present results suggest that both excitotoxic and oxidative stress play an important role in the upregulation of NT nitration and the apoptotic pathway in cultured rat spinal neurons.
- Free radicals
- Spinal cord neurons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience