Pathophysiological role of prostaglandin E2-induced up-regulation of the EP2 receptor in motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells and lumbar motor neurons in ALS model mice

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Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective degeneration of motor neurons. The primary triggers for motor neuronal death are still unknown, but inflammation is considered to be an important factor contributing to the pathophysiology of ALS both clinically and in ALS models. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and its corresponding four E-prostanoid receptors play a pivotal role in the degeneration of motor neurons in human and transgenic models of ALS. It has also been shown that PGE2-EP2 signaling in glial cells (astrocytes or microglia) promotes motor neuronal death in G93A mice. The present study was designed to investigate the levels of expression of EP receptors in the spinal motor neurons of ALS model mice and to examine whether PGE2 alters the expression of EP receptors in differentiated NSC-34 cells, a motor neuron-like cell line. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that EP2 and EP3 immunoreactivity was localized in NeuN-positive large cells showing the typical morphology of motor neurons in mice. Semi-quantitative analysis showed that the immunoreactivity of EP2 in motor neurons was significantly increased in the early symptomatic stage in ALS model mice. In contrast, the level of EP3 expression remained constant, irrespective of age. In differentiated NSC-34 cells, bath application of PGE2 resulted in a concentration-dependent decrease of MTT reduction. Although PGE2 had no effect on cell survival at concentrations of less than 10 μM, pretreatment with 10 μM PGE2 significantly up-regulated EP2 and concomitantly potentiated cell death induced by 30 μM PGE2. These results suggest that PGE2 is an important effector for induction of the EP2 subtype in differentiated NSC-34 cells, and that not only EP2 up-regulation in glial cells but also EP2 up-regulation in motor neurons plays a pivotal role in the vulnerability of motor neurons in ALS model mice.

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