Research Papers:

Methamphetamine-mediated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induces type-1 programmed cell death in astrocytes via ATF6, IRE1α and PERK pathways

Ankit Shah _ and Anil Kumar

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:46100-46119. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10025

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Ankit Shah1, Anil Kumar1

1Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

Correspondence to:

Ankit Shah, email: [email protected]

Keywords: methamphetamine, astrocytes, ER stress, CHOP, apoptosis

Received: December 29, 2015     Accepted: May 26, 2016     Published: June 14, 2016


Methamphetamine (MA), a psychostimulant drug has been associated with a variety of neurotoxic effects which are thought to be mediated by induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, oxidative stress and damage to blood-brain-barrier. Conversely, the ER stress-mediated apoptosis has been implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases. However, its involvement in MA-mediated neurodegenerative effects remains largely unexplored. The present study was undertaken to assess the effect of MA on ER stress and its possible involvement in apoptosis. For this purpose, SVGA astrocytes were treated with MA, which induced the expressions of BiP and CHOP at both, mRNA and protein levels. This phenomenon was also confirmed in HFA and various regions of mouse brain. Assessment of IRE1α, ATF6 and PERK pathways further elucidated the mechanistic details underlying MA-mediated ER stress. Knockdown of various intermediate molecules in ER stress pathways using siRNA demonstrated reduction in MA-mediated CHOP. Finally, MA-mediated apoptosis was demonstrated via MTT assay and TUNEL staining. The involvement of ER stress in the apoptosis was demonstrated with the help of MTT and TUNEL assays in the presence of siRNA against various ER stress proteins. The apoptosis also involved activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9, which was reversed by knockdown with various siRNAs. Altogether, this is the first report demonstrating mechanistic details responsible for MA-mediated ER stress and its role in apoptosis. This study provides a novel group of targets that can be explored in future for management of MA-mediated cell death and MA-associated neurodegenerative disorders.

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