Lithium-mediated protection of hippocampal cells involves enhancement of DNA-PK-dependent nonhomologous end-joining of chromosomal break

Yang ES, Wang H, Jiang G, Nowsheen S, Fu A, Hallahan DE, Xia F (2009). J Clin Invest, 119(5):1124-35 Read More

Abstract

Long-term neurological deficiencies resulting from hippocampal cytotoxicity induced by cranial irradiation (IR) present a challenge in the treatment of primary and metastatic brain cancers, especially in children. Previously, we showed that lithium protected hippocampal neurons from IR-induced apoptosis and improved neurocognitive function in treated mice. Here, we demonstrate accelerated repair of IR-induced chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs) in lithium-treated neurons. Lithium treatment not only increased IR-induced DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) threonine 2609 foci, a surrogate marker for activated nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair, but also enhanced double-strand DNA end-rejoining activity in hippocampal neurons. The increased NHEJ repair coincided with reduced numbers of IR-induced gamma-H2AX foci, well-characterized in situ markers of DSBs. These findings were confirmed in vivo in irradiated mice. Consistent with a role of NHEJ repair in lithium-mediated neuroprotection, attenuation of IR-induced apoptosis of hippocampal neurons by lithium was dramatically abrogated when DNA-PK function was abolished genetically in SCID mice or inhibited biochemically by the DNA-PK inhibitor IC86621. Importantly, none of these findings were evident in glioma cancer cells. These results support our hypothesis that lithium protects hippocampal neurons by promoting the NHEJ repair-mediated DNA repair pathway and warrant future investigation of lithium-mediated neuroprotection during cranial IR, especially in the pediatric population.

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Posted on October 11, 2009
Posted in: HPAN, Neurodegeneration, Publications Authors: