Suppression of survival kinases and activation of JNK mediate ethanol-induced cell death in the developing rat brain.

Research paper by Jae Yoon JY Han, Joo Yeon JY Jeong, Yeon Kung YK Lee, Gu Seob GS Roh, Hyun Joon HJ Kim, Sang Soo SS Kang, Gyeong Jae GJ Cho, Wan Sung WS Choi

Indexed on: 18 Jan '06Published on: 18 Jan '06Published in: Neuroscience Letters


Administration of ethanol to immature rat pups during the period in which synaptogenesis occurs triggers extensive apoptotic cell death in the brain. This ethanol-induced cell death is known to be mediated by Bax activation, which is caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. However, little data is available regarding the regulation of survival signaling pathways and their downstream events that lead to Bax activation. Thus, in the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of ethanol on survival signaling pathways and their downstream events that lead to cell death in the rat brain during the brain developmental period. Ethanol (3 g/kg, 20% in saline) was administered subcutaneously to post-natal 7-day-old rat pups twice at 2-h intervals and the pups were sacrificed at 4 h following the first ethanol injection. Ethanol treatment suppressed the activation of survival kinases, particularly Akt, Erk1/2 and PKAalpha, whereas it increased the activation of JNK. Moreover, dissociation of dephosphorylated Bad from 14-3-3 and the interaction of activated JNK with Bcl-2 were elevated by ethanol treatment. The present study demonstrated that ethanol treatment during the brain developmental period induced mitochondrial dysfunction, which led to cell death by the suppression of survival kinases, Bad release from 14-3-3 and inactivation of Bcl-2 by activated JNK.