Since its first appearance in the US in 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) has emerged as the most common cause of epidemic meningoencephalitis in North America. In the 6 years following the 1999 outbreak, the geographic range and burden of the disease in birds, mosquitoes and humans has greatly expanded to include the 48 contiguous US and 7 Canadian provinces, as well as Mexico, the Caribbean islands and Colombia. WNV has shown an increasing propensity for neuroinvasive disease over the past decade, with varied presentations including meningitis, encephalitis and acute flaccid paralysis. Although neuroinvasive disease occurs in less than 1% of infected individuals, it is associated with high mortality. From 1999–2005, more than 8,000 cases of neuroinvasive WNV disease were reported in the US, resulting in over 780 deaths. In this review, we discuss epidemiology, risk factors, clinical features, diagnosis and prognosis of WNV meningoencephalitis, along with potential treatments.
acute flaccid paralysis; encephalitis; meningitis; neuroinvasive disease; West Nile virus
Reovirus infection is a well-characterized experimental system for the study of viral pathogenesis and antiviral immunity within the central nervous system (CNS). We have previously shown that c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and the Fas death receptor each play a role in neuronal apoptosis occurring in reovirus-infected brains. Death-associated protein 6 (Daxx) is a cellular protein that mechanistically links Fas signaling to JNK signaling in several models of apoptosis. In the present study, we demonstrate that Daxx is upregulated in reovirus-infected brain tissue through a type I interferon-mediated mechanism. Daxx upregulation is limited to brain regions that undergo reovirus-induced apoptosis and occurs in the cytoplasm and nucleus of neurons. Cytoplasmic Daxx is present in Fas-expressing cells during reovirus encephalitis, suggesting a role for Daxx in Fas-mediated apoptosis following reovirus infection. Further, in vitro expression of a dominant negative form of Daxx (DN-Daxx), which binds to Fas but which does not transmit downstream signaling, inhibits apoptosis of reovirus-infected cells. In contrast, in vitro depletion of Daxx results in increased expression of caspase 3 and apoptosis, suggesting that Daxx plays an antiapoptotic role in the nucleus. Overall, these data imply a regulatory role for Daxx in reovirus-induced apoptosis, depending on its location in the nucleus or cytoplasm.
meningitis; chronic meningitis; fungal meningitis; Histoplasma capsulatum; histoplasmosis; secondary CNS vasculitis; communicating hydrocephalus
The first part of this review ended with a discussion of new niches for known viruses as illustrated by viral central nervous system (CNS) disease associated with organ transplant and the syndrome of human herpesvirus 6–associated posttransplant acute limbic encephalitis. In this part, we begin with a continuation of this theme, reviewing the association of JC virus–associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) with novel immunomodulatory agents. This part then continues with emerging viral infections associated with importation of infected animals (monkeypox virus), then spread of vectors and enhanced vector competence (chikungunya virus [CHIK]), and novel viruses causing CNS infections including Nipah and Hendra viruses and bat lyssaviruses (BLV).
In this 2-part review, I will focus on emerging virus infections of the central nervous system (CNS). Part 1 will introduce the basic features of emerging infections, including their definition, epidemiology, and the frequency of CNS involvement. Important mechanisms of emergence will be reviewed, including viruses spreading into new host ranges as exemplified by West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus, Toscana virus, and enterovirus 71 (EV71). Emerging infections also result from opportunistic spread of viruses into known niches, often resulting from attenuated host resistance to infection. This process is exemplified by transplant-associated cases of viral CNS infection caused by WNV, rabies virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis–like viruses and by the syndrome of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6)–associated posttransplantation acute limbic encephalitis. The second part of this review begins with a discussion of JC virus and the occurrence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in association with novel immunomodulatory therapies and then continues with an overview of the risk of infection introduced by imported animals (eg, monkeypox virus) and examples of emerging diseases caused by enhanced competence of viruses for vectors and the spread of vectors (eg, chikungunya virus) and then concludes with examples of novel viruses causing CNS infection as exemplified by Nipah and Hendra viruses and bat lyssaviruses.
Reovirus infection of the murine spinal cord (SC) was used as a model system to investigate innate immune responses during viral myelitis, including the activation of glia (microglia and astrocytes) and interferon (IFN) signaling and increased expression of inflammatory mediators. Reovirus myelitis was associated with the pronounced activation of SC glia, as evidenced by characteristic changes in cellular morphology and increased expression of astrocyte and microglia-specific proteins. Expression of inflammatory mediators known to be released by activated glia, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL 5), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 10 (CXCL10), and gamma interferon (IFN-γ), was also significantly upregulated in the SC of reovirus-infected animals compared to mock-infected controls. Reovirus infection of the mouse SC was also associated with increased expression of genes involved in IFN signaling, including IFN-stimulated genes (ISG). Further, reovirus infection of mice deficient in the expression of the IFN-α/β receptor (IFNAR−/−) resulted in accelerated mortality, demonstrating that IFN signaling is protective during reovirus myelitis. Experiments performed in ex vivo SC slice cultures (SCSC) confirmed that resident SC cells contribute to the production of at least some of these inflammatory mediators and ISG during reovirus infection. Microglia, but not astrocytes, were still activated, and glia-associated inflammatory mediators were still produced in reovirus-infected INFAR−/− mice, demonstrating that IFN signaling is not absolutely required for these neuroinflammatory responses. Our results suggest that activated glia and inflammatory mediators contribute to a local microenvironment that is deleterious to neuronal survival.
Infections in the central nervous system (CNS) are caused by a wide range of microorganisms resulting in distinct clinical syndromes including meningitis, encephalitis, and pyogenic infections, such as empyema and brain abscess. Bacterial and viral infections in the CNS can be rapidly fatal and can result in severe disability in survivors. Appropriate identification and acute management of these infections often occurs in a critical care setting and is vital to improving outcomes in this group of patients. This review of diagnosis and management of acute bacterial and viral infections in the CNS provides a general approach to patients with a suspected CNS infection and also provides a more detailed review of the diagnosis and management of patients with suspected bacterial meningitis, viral encephalitis, brain abscess, and subdural empyema.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011-0086-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Nervous system; Infection; Meningitis; Encephalitis; Abscess; Treatment
Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) describes the loss of motor function in 1 or more limbs commonly associated with viral infection and destruction of motor neurons in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. Therapy is limited, and the development of effective treatments is hampered by a lack of experimental models. Reovirus infection of neonatal mice provides a model for the study of CNS viral infection pathogenesis. Injection of the Reovirus serot Type 3 strains Abney (T3A) or Dearing (T3D) into the hindlimb of 1-day-old mice resulted in the development of AFP in more than 90% of infected mice. Acute flaccid paralysis began in the ipsilateral hindlimb at 8 to 10 days postinfection and progressed to paraplegia 24 hours later. Paralysis correlated with injury, neuron loss, and spread of viral antigen first to the ipsilateral and then to the contralateral anterior horns. As demonstrated by the activation of caspase 3 and its colocalization with viral antigen in the anterior horn and concomitant cleavage of poly-(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase, AFP was associated with apoptosis. Calpain activity and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression were both elevated in the spinal cords of paralyzed animals. This study represents the first detailed characterization of a novel and highly efficient experimental model of virus-induced AFP that will facilitate evaluation of therapeutic strategies targeting virus-induced paralysis.
Acute flaccid paralysis; Apoptosis; Motor neurons; Reovirus; Viral myelitis
To describe the development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with rituximab.
Clinical care for patients with rheumatologic diseases. Most were referred to academic centers for care after diagnosis (Washington University, St Louis, Missouri; Karolinska Insitute, Stockholm, Sweden; and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia) while one was cared for in a neurology practice in Dallas, Texas, with consultation by an academic neurovirologist from the University of Colorado in Denver.
Four patients developing PML in the setting of rituximab therapy for RA.
Main Outcome Measures
Clinical and pathological observations.
Four patients from an estimated population of 129 000 exposed to rituximab therapy for RA are reported in whom PML developed after administration of this drug. All were women older than 50 years, commonly with Sjögren syndrome and a history of treatment for joint disease ranging from 3 to 14 years. One case had no prior biologic and minimal immunosuppressive therapy. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy presented as a progressive neurological disorder, with diagnosis confirmed by detection of JC virus DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid or brain biopsy specimen. Two patients died in less than 1 year from PML diagnosis, while 2 remain alive after treatment withdrawal. Magnetic resonance scans and tissue evaluation confirmed the frequent development of inflammatory PML during the course of the disease.
These cases suggest an increased risk, about 1 case per 25 000 individuals, of PML in patients with RA being treated with rituximab. Inflammatory PML may occur in this setting even while CD20 counts remain low.
Viral encephalitis is a significant cause of human morbidity and mortality in large part due to suboptimal diagnosis and treatment. Murine reovirus infection serves as a classic experimental model of viral encephalitis. Infection of neonatal mice with T3 reoviruses results in lethal encephalitis associated with neuronal infection, apoptosis, and CNS tissue injury. We have developed an ex vivo brain slice culture (BSC) system that recapitulates the basic pathological features and kinetics of viral replication seen in vivo. We utilize the BSC model to identify an innate, brain-tissue specific inflammatory cytokine response to reoviral infection, which is characterized by the release of IL6, CXCL10, RANTES, and murine IL8 analog (KC). Additionally, we demonstrate the potential utility of this system as a pharmaceutical screening platform by inhibiting reovirus-induced apoptosis and CNS tissue injury with the pan-caspase inhibitor, Q-VD-OPh. Cultured brain slices not only serve to model events occurring during viral encephalitis, but can also be utilized to investigate aspects of pathogenesis and therapy that are not experimentally accessible in vivo.
reovirus; virus; viral; apoptosis; caspase; encephalitis; neuron; ex vivo; organotypic; brain slice; cytokine; MCP-1; IL6; KC; IL8; CXCL10; RANTES; Q-VD-OPh
Encephalitis induced by reovirus serotype 3 (T3) strains results from the apoptotic death of infected neurons. Extrinsic apoptotic signaling is activated in reovirus-infected neurons in vitro and in vivo, but the role of intrinsic apoptosis signaling during encephalitis is largely unknown. Bax plays a key role in intrinsic apoptotic signaling in neurons by allowing the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c. We found Bax activation and cytochrome c release in neurons following infection of neonatal mice with T3 reoviruses. Bax−/− mice infected with T3 Abney (T3A) have reduced central nervous system (CNS) tissue injury and decreased apoptosis, despite viral replication that is similar to that in wild-type (WT) Bax+/+ mice. In contrast, in the heart, T3A-infected Bax−/− mice have viral growth, caspase activation, and injury comparable to those in WT mice, indicating that the role of Bax in pathogenesis is organ specific. Nonmyocarditic T3 Dearing (T3D)-infected Bax−/− mice had delayed disease and enhanced survival compared to WT mice. T3D-infected Bax−/− mice had significantly lower viral titers and levels of activated caspase 3 in the brain despite unaffected transneuronal spread of virus. Cytochrome c and Smac release occurred in some reovirus-infected neurons in the absence of Bax; however, this was clearly reduced compared to levels seen in Bax+/+ wild-type mice, indicating that Bax is necessary for efficient activation of proapoptotic mitochondrial signaling in infected neurons. Our studies suggest that Bax is important for reovirus growth and pathogenesis in neurons and that the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, mediated by Bax, is important for full expression of disease, CNS tissue injury, apoptosis, and viral growth in the CNS of reovirus-infected mice.
Evidence suggests that West Nile virus (WNV) neuroinvasive disease occurs more frequently in both solid organ and human stem cell transplant recipients. The effect of concomitant anti-B-cell therapy with rituximab, a CD20+ monoclonal antibody, on WNV infection in this population, however, has not been reported. We describe a case of a patient with alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency who underwent single lung transplantation in 2005 and was maintained on tacrolimus, cytoxan and prednisone. More recently, she had received two courses of rituximab for recurrent A2–A3 grade rejection with concomitant capillaritis and presented six months later with rapid, fulminant WNV meningoencephalitis. Her diagnosis was made by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) PCR but serum and CSF WNV IgM and IgG remained negative. She received WNV-specific hyperimmune globulin (Omr-Ig-Am®) through a compassionate protocol. She experienced a rapidly progressive and devastating neurological course despite treatment and died three wk after onset of her symptoms. Autopsy revealed extensive meningoencephalomyelitis.
rituximab; transplant; West Nile virus
Viral encephalitis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. We performed microarray analysis to identify genes and pathways that are differentially regulated during reovirus encephalitis and that may provide novel therapeutic targets for virus-induced diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). An increase in the expression of 130 cellular genes was found in the brains of reovirus-infected mice at early times post infection, compared to mock-infected controls. The up-regulation of these genes was consistent with activation of innate immune responses, particularly interferon signaling. At later times post infection, when significant CNS injury is present and mice exhibit signs of severe neurologic disease, many more (1374) genes were up-regulated, indicating that increased gene expression correlates with disease pathology. Virus-induced gene expression at late times post infection was again consistent with the activation of innate immune responses. However, additional significant pathways included those associated with cytokine signaling and apoptosis, both of which can contribute to CNS injury. This is the first report comparing virus-induced cellular gene and pathway regulation at early and late times following virus infection of the brain. The shift of virus-induced gene expression from innate immune responses at early times post infection to cytokine signaling and apoptosis at later times suggests a potential therapeutic strategy that preserves early protective responses whilst inhibiting later responses that contribute to pathogenesis.
encephalitis; gene expression; reovirus
Reovirus infection of neonatal mice provides a classic experimental system for understanding the molecular pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS) viral infection. CNS tissue injury, caused by many human neurotropic viruses, including herpes viruses and West Nile virus, is associated with caspase-dependent apoptotic neuronal cell death. We have previously shown that reovirus-induced CNS tissue injury results from apoptosis and is associated with activation of both death-receptor and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways culminating in the activation of the downstream effector caspase, caspase-3. In order to directly investigate the role of caspase-3 in virus-induced neuronal death and CNS tissue injury during encephalitis, we have compared the pathogenesis of reovirus CNS infection in mice lacking the caspase-3 gene (caspase-3 (–/–)) to syngeneic wild-type mice. Prior studies of antiapoptotic treatments for reovirus-infected mice have indicated that protection from reovirus-induced neuronal injury can occur without altering the viral titer in the brains of infected mice. We now show that reovirus infection of caspase-3(–/–) mice was associated with dramatic reduction in severity of CNS tissue injury, decreased viral antigen and titer in the brain, and enhanced survival of infected mice. Following intracerebral inoculation, the authors also show that virus spread from the brain to the eyes in reovirus-infected caspase-3 (–/–) mice, indicating that viral spread was intact in these mice. Examination of brains of long-term survivors of reovirus infection among caspase-3 (–/–) mice showed that these mice eventually clear their CNS viral infection, and do not manifest residual or delayed CNS tissue injury.
apoptosis; caspase; encephalitis; neuron; reovirus
Neuroinvasive West Nile virus (WNV) infections may cause acute flaccid paralysis (AFP); in fatal cases anterior horn cell (AHC) loss is presumed to be a due to direct viral infection. In related animal models, however, glutamate excitoxicity mediates bystander injury of uninfected AHCs, suggesting additional pathogenetic mechanisms. We examined expression of the principal excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT) of astrocytes (i.e. EAAT2 in humans, glutamate transporter-1 in hamsters) in the spinal cord of human WNV AFP patients and in hamsters with WNV AFP by immunohistochemistry. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), synaptic and dendritic markers (i.e. synaptophysin, microtubule-associated protein-2 [MAP2]), immune activation (HLA-DR), and viral antigens were also evaluated. Humans and hamsters with WNV-induced AFP had decreased spinal grey matter EAAT expression despite greater numbers of GFAP-positive astrocytes compared to controls. Areas of diminished EAAT expression showed reduced synaptic and dendritic protein expression and prominent local inflammation but few infected neurons. These findings suggest that WNV infection results in local immune activation within the spinal cord that in turn causes a failure of astrocyte glutamate reuptake even as the number of astrocytes increases; rising extracellular glutamate levels may then drive excitotoxic injury of both infected and uninfected AHCs. The pathogenesis of this increasingly common disorder likely involves immune response and excitotoxicity mechanisms that are potential therapeutic targets.
Acute flaccid paralysis; Astrocyte; Excitotoxic injury; Glutamate transporters; West Nile virus
Arboviruses continue to be a major cause of encephalitis in North America and West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease is now the dominant cause of encephalitis. Transmission to humans of North American arboviruses occurs by infected mosquitoes or ticks. Most infections are asymptomatic or produce a flu-like illness. Elderly, immunosuppressed individuals and infants for some arboviruses have the highest incidence of severe encephalitis. Rapid serum or CSF IgM antibody capture ELISA assays are now available to diagnosis the acute infection for all North American arboviruses. Unfortunately, no antiviral drugs are approved for the treatment of arbovirus infection and current therapy is supportive.
arbovirus; togavirus; flavivirus; bunyavirus; encephalitis; myelitis
Type 3 (T3) reovirus strains induce apoptotic neuronal cell death and lethal encephalitis in infected mice. T3 strain Dearing (T3D)-induced apoptosis in primary neuronal cultures occurs by a Fas-mediated mechanism and requires the activation of caspase 8. We now show that Fas mRNA is upregulated in the brains of mice infected with encephalitic reovirus T3D and T3 strain Abney (T3A) but not following infection with nonencephalitic reovirus type 1 strain Lang. Fas is upregulated in regions of the brain that are injured during infection with T3 reovirus strains and colocalizes with virus antigen in individual neurons. In contrast, levels of FasL mRNA induced by encephalitic and nonencephalitic reovirus strains do not differ significantly. Caspase 8, the initiator caspase associated with Fas-mediated apoptosis, is activated in the cortex and hippocampal regions of both T3D- and T3A-infected mice. Furthermore, Bid cleavage and the activation of caspase 9 in the brains of T3D-infected mice suggest that the caspase 8-dependent activation of mitochondrial apoptotic signaling contributes to virus-induced apoptosis. We have previously shown that the inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling blocks T3D-induced apoptosis and improves the outcome of virus-induced encephalitis. We now show that the reovirus-induced upregulation of Fas requires JNK signaling, thereby providing a link between reovirus-induced death receptor signaling and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways and a potential mechanism for the therapeutic action of JNK inhibition.
Apoptosis is associated with virus-induced human diseases of the central nervous system, heart and liver, and causes substantial morbidity and mortality. Although virus-induced apoptosis is well characterized in individual cells in cell culture, virus-induced apoptosis in vivo and the role of apoptosis in virus-induced disease is not well established. This Review focuses on animal models of virus-induced diseases of the central nervous system, heart and liver that provide insights into the role of apoptosis in pathogenesis, the pathways involved and the potential therapeutic implications.
The pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying viral myocarditis are not well defined. As a result, effective treatments do not exist and viral myocarditis remains a potentially lethal infection of the heart.
Methods and Results
We used cultured rat cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts to investigate apoptosis and cytokine production in response to infection by myocarditic vs. non-myocarditic strains of reovirus. Myocarditic reovirus strain 8B and non-myocarditic strain DB188 replicate comparably in each cardiac cell type. However, strain 8B and related myocarditic reoviruses preferentially increase apoptosis of myocytes relative to fibroblasts, whereas DB188 and nonmyocarditic strains preferentially increase fibroblast apoptosis. Infection of cardiac fibroblasts with the nonmyocarditic strain DB188 elicits substantial increases in a panel of cytokines compared to fibroblasts infected with strain 8B or mock-infected controls. Analysis of culture supernatants using cytometric bead arrays revealed that DB188 enhanced release of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12(p70), GRO-KC, tumor necrosis factor-α, and MCP-1 relative to 8B or mock-infected controls (all P < .05).
We hypothesize that differential cytokine production and cell-specific apoptosis are important determinants of myocarditic potential of reoviral strains. Therapies that target the beneficial effects of cytokines in limiting cytopathic damage may offer an effective and novel treatment approach to viral myocarditis.
Viral myocarditis; myocytes; fibroblasts
Viral infections of the central nervous system (CNS) are important causes of worldwide morbidity and mortality, and understanding how viruses perturb host cell signaling pathways will facilitate identification of novel antiviral therapies. We now show that reovirus infection activates transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in a murine model of encephalitis in vivo. TGF-β receptor I (TGF-βRI) expression is increased and its downstream signaling factor, SMAD3, is activated in the brains of reovirus-infected mice. TGF-β signaling is neuroprotective, as inhibition with a TGF-βRI inhibitor increases death of infected neurons. Similarly, BMP receptor I expression is increased and its downstream signaling factor, SMAD1, is activated in reovirus-infected neurons in the brains of infected mice in vivo. Activated SMAD1 and SMAD3 were both detected in regions of brain infected by reovirus, but activated SMAD1 was found predominantly in uninfected neurons in close proximity to infected neurons. Treatment of reovirus-infected primary mouse cortical neurons with a BMP agonist reduced apoptosis. These data provide the first evidence for the activation of TGF-β and BMP signaling pathways following neurotropic viral infection and suggest that these signaling pathways normally function as part of the host's protective innate immune response against CNS viral infection.
Bcl-2 protects cells against mitochondrial oxidative stress and subsequent apoptosis. However, the mechanism underlying the antioxidant function of Bcl-2 is currently unknown. Recently, Bax and several Bcl-2 homology-3 domain (BH3)-only proteins (Bid, Puma, and Noxa) have been shown to induce a pro-oxidant state at mitochondria (1-4). Given the opposing effects of Bcl-2 and Bax/BH3-only proteins on the redox state of mitochondria, we hypothesized that the antioxidant function of Bcl-2 is antagonized by its interaction with the BH3 domains of pro-apoptotic family members. Here, we show that BH3 mimetics that bind to a hydrophobic surface (the BH3 groove) of Bcl-2 induce GSH-sensitive mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons. BH3 mimetics displace a discrete mitochondrial GSH pool in neurons and suppress GSH transport into isolated rat brain mitochondria. Moreover, BH3 mimetics and the BH3-only protein, Bim, inhibit a novel interaction between Bcl-2 and GSH in vitro. These results suggest that Bcl-2 regulates an essential pool of mitochondrial GSH and that this regulation may depend upon Bcl-2 directly interacting with GSH via the BH3 groove. We conclude that this novel GSH binding property of Bcl-2 likely plays a central role in its antioxidant function at mitochondria.
Rho GTPases are key transducers of integrin/extracellular matrix and growth factor signaling. Although integrin-mediated adhesion and trophic support suppress neuronal apoptosis, the role of Rho GTPases in neuronal survival is unclear. Here, we have identified Rac as a critical pro-survival GTPase in cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) and elucidated a death pathway triggered by its inactivation. GTP-loading of Rac1 was maintained in CGNs by integrin-mediated (RGDdependent) cell attachment and trophic support. Clostridium difficile toxin B (ToxB), a specific Rho family inhibitor, induced a selective caspase-mediated degradation of Rac1 without affecting RhoA or Cdc42 protein levels. Both ToxB and dominant-negative N17Rac1 elicited CGN apoptosis, characterized by cytochrome c release and activation of caspase-9 and -3, whereas dominant-negative N19RhoA or N17Cdc42 did not cause significant cell death. ToxB stimulated mitochondrial translocation and conformational activation of Bax, c-Jun activation, and induction of the BH3-only protein Bim. Similarly, c-Jun activation and Bim induction were observed with N17Rac1. A c-jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK)/p38 inhibitor, SB203580, and a JNK-specific inhibitor, SP600125, significantly decreased ToxB-induced Bim expression and blunted each subsequent step of the apoptotic cascade. These results indicate that Rac acts downstream of integrins and growth factors to promote neuronal survival by repressing c-Jun/Bim-mediated mitochondrial apoptosis.
Bax; BH3-only; c-jun N-terminal protein kinase; neuronal survival; Rho GTPase