The p53-activated gene 608 (PAG608) is a proapoptotic gene activated and regulated by p53 expression in oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of neuronal cells. In this study, we determined the role of PAG608 in methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. Treatment of mouse dopaminergic CATH.a cells with 2 mM methamphetamine increased PAG608 expression at 3 h followed by increase in phosphorylated p53 expression. Transient transfection of PAG608 antisense cDNA or RNA interference using PAG608 small interfering RNA significantly attenuated the dose-dependent decrease in cell viability of CATH.a cells by methamphetamine (1-4 mM) exposure. In monoaminergic neuronal B65 cells, which contain serotonin rather than dopamine, methamphetamine-induced cell death was also significantly but partially protected by transient transfection of PAG608 antisense cDNA. Furthermore, cell death of PC12 cells produced by methamphetamine (1-5 mM) was almost completely prevented by stable expression of PAG608 antisense cDNA, compared with significant reduction of cell viability in control PC12 cells. Our results showed that suppression of PAG608 using transient and stable transfection with PAG608 antisense cDNA or small interfering RNA attenuates methamphetamine-induced death of various monoaminergic neuronal cells, suggesting that methamphetamine neurotoxicity in monoaminergic cells is related, at least in part, to induction of PAG608 expression.
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