• Antisense oligodeoxynucleotide;
  • Caspase;
  • Estrogen;
  • Free radical;
  • Mitochondrial membrane depolarization;
  • Uric acid;
  • Vitamin E.

Abstract : Prostate apoptosis response-4 (Par-4) is the product of a gene up-regulated in prostate cancer cells undergoing apoptosis. We now report that Par-4 mRNA and protein levels rapidly and progressively increase 4-24 h following trophic factor withdrawal (TFW) in cultured embryonic rat hippocampal neurons. The increased Par-4 levels follow an increase of reactive oxygen species, and precede mitochondrial membrane depolarization, caspase activation, and nuclear chromatin condensation/fragmentation. Pretreatment of cultures with 17β-estradiol, vitamin E, and uric acid largely prevented Par-4 induction and cell death following TFW, demonstrating necessary roles for oxidative stress and membrane lipid peroxidation in TFW-induced neuronal apoptosis. Par-4 antisense oligonucleotide treatment blocked Par-4 protein increases and attenuated mitochondrial dysfunction, caspase activation, and cell death following TFW. Collectively, our data identify Par-4 as an early and pivotal player in neuronal apoptosis resulting from TFW and suggest that estrogen and antioxidants may prevent apoptosis, in part, by suppressing Par-4 production.