Author(s): Williams TM, Ndifor AM, Near JT, ReamsBrown RR
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Abstract Although the neurotoxicity of lead exposure is well documented, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying lead neurotoxicity have not been well defined. We have investigated the effect of lead on nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells and the role in this process of extracellular signal regulated protein kinase (ERK), a key component of NGF-induced differentiation. We found that exposure of cells to lead acetate (0.1-100 microM) resulted in enhanced NGF-induced neurite outgrowth. Lead exposure also promoted formation of multiple neurites per cell in NGF-treated cells. However, lead alone did not cause neurite outgrowth. Lead also enhanced NGF-induced ERK phosphorylation and activation, but lead alone did not stimulate ERK. The MAP kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor, PD98059, significantly decreased the effect of lead on NGF-induced neurite outgrowth and ERK activation. These findings indicate that exposure of cells to low, toxic levels of lead amplifies growth factor-induced neurite outgrowth by means of an ERK-dependent signaling pathway.
This article was published in Neurotoxicology
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics