The Interplay of Akt and ERK in Aβ Toxicity and Insulin-Mediated Protection in Primary Hippocampal Cell Culture.
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It is not known if insulin prevents Aβ-induced cell death, MAPK, and Akt activity in isolated hippocampal cell culture. This study was aimed to explore the effect of insulin on Aβ-induced cell death and ERK and Akt signaling alteration in isolated hippocampal cell culture. Additionally, it was desirable to assess if there is any interaction between these two pathways. The hippocampal cells were derived from fetuses at the embryonic day 18-19. The cells were treated with different drugs, and MTT assay, morphological assessments, and Western blot were done. Insulin prevented Aβ-induced cell death and caspase-3 cleavage. Aβ-induced toxicity was aligned with decrement of the phosphorylated Akt (pAkt) which was prevented by insulin. The PI3 kinase inhibitor, LY294002, decreased pAkt and abolished the protective effect of insulin. Aβ exposure increased phosphorylated ERK (pERK) in parallel with cell death and apoptosis. Insulin-inhibited ERK activation (phosphorylation) induced by Aβ and PD98059 (as ERK inhibitor) did not affect the protective effect of insulin. One of the interesting finding of this study was the interplay of Akt and ERK in Aβ toxicity and insulin-mediated protection; meaning that there is an inverse relation between pERK and pAkt, in a way that PI3-Akt pathway inhibition leads to pERK increment while ERK inhibition causes Akt phosphorylation (activation). This study showed, for the first time, that insulin protects against Aβ toxicity in isolated hippocampal cell culture via modulating Akt and ERK phosphorylation and also revealed an interaction between those signals in Aβ toxicity and insulin-mediated protection.