Thapsigargin is a pro-apoptotic chemical, which has been shown to be useful to study cell death of cholinergic or dopaminergic neurons, or cells, which degenerate in Alzheimers disease or Parkinsons disease, respectively. The aim of the present work was to study the effects of thapsigargin in the well established organotypic brain co-slice model composed of the basal nucleus of Meynert (nBM), ventral mesencephalon (vMes), dorsal striatum (dStr) and parietal cortex (Ctx). Cholinergic acetyltransferase-positive neurons in the nBM and dStr and dopaminergic tyrosine hydroxylasepositive neurons in the vMes survived, when cultured for 4 weeks with nerve growth factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor. Nerve fibers of cholinergic nBM neurons grew into the cortex and dopaminergic nerve fibers sprouted into dopamine D2 receptor-positive dStr. The whole co-slice contained a dense laminin-positive capillary network. Treatment of co-cultures with 3 μM thapsigargin for 24 hr significantly decreased the number of cholinergic neurons and dopaminergic neurons. This cell death displayed apoptotic DAPI-positive malformed nuclei and enhanced TUNEL-positive cells. Thapsigargin selectively stimulated the laminin-positive capillary growth between the nBM and Ctx. In conclusion, the induced cell death of cholinergic and dopaminergic neurons may be accompanied by enhanced angiogenic activity.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, vascularization, in vitro model, neuronal cell death
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport