Induction of proneurotrophins and activation of p75NTR-mediated apoptosis via neurotrophin receptor-interacting factor in hippocampal neurons after seizures

Marta Volosin, Christy Trotter, Andrea Cragnolini, Rajappa S. Kenchappa, Matthew Light, Barbara L. Hempstead, Bruce D. Carter, Wilma J. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Seizure-induced damage elicits a loss of hippocampal neurons mediated to a great extent by the p75 neurotrophin receptor (NTR). Proneurotrophins, which are potent apoptosis-inducing ligands for p75NTR, were increased in the hippocampus, particularly in astrocytes, by pilocarpine-induced seizures; and infusion of anti-pro-NGF dramatically attenuated neuronal loss after seizures. The p75NTR is expressed inmanydifferent cell types in the nervous system, and can mediate a variety of different cellular functions by recruiting specific intracellular binding proteins to activate distinct signaling pathways. In this study, we demonstrate that neurotrophin receptor-interacting factor (NRIF) mediates apoptotic signaling via p75NTR in hippocampal neurons in vitro and in vivo. After seizure-induced injury, NRIF-/- mice showed an increase in p75NTR expression in the hippocampus; however, these neurons failed to undergo apoptosis in contrast to wild-type mice. Treatment of cultured hippocampal neurons with proneurotrophins induced association of NRIF with p75NTR and subsequent translocation of NRIF to the nucleus, which was dependent on cleavage of the receptor. Neurons lacking NRIF were resistant to p75NTR-mediated apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we demonstrate some mechanistic differences in p75 NTR signaling in hippocampal neurons compared with other cell types. Overall, these studies demonstrate the requirement for NRIF to signal p75 NTR-mediated apoptosis of hippocampal neurons and that blocking pro-NGF can inhibit neuronal loss after seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9870-9879
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 24 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Hippocampus
  • NRIF
  • Neurotrophins
  • Signal transduction
  • p75 neurotrophin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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