Apoptosis and inflammatory response in human astrocytes are induced by a transmissible cytotoxic agent of neurological origin
De Pol A
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We demonstrated the presence of an in vitro transmissible cytotoxic agent (TCA) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with different acute neurological diseases. The nature of this agent is still a matter of study since repeated attempts have failed to identify it as a conventional infectious agent. Here, we describe the mechanisms through which TCA affects human astrocytes, demonstrating: a late apoptotic process, mediated by caspases 9 and 3 activation, involving the Bcl2-Bak-axis; an early and late p38 MAPK activation; an interference with the IL-8 and MCP-1 secretory response. These in vitro data provide initial evidence of TCA involvement as a pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory signal, directly affecting astrocytic behavior. The implications of these findings in certain neurological diseases will be discussed.