NGF-induced cytotoxicity in PC12 cells in a hypoglycemic environment

Jun Mo Chung, Jin Hee Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Surprisingly, we observed that nerve growth factor (NGF) potentiated death of PC12 cells induced by glucose withdrawal, although NGF is widely believed to exert its protective role against several types of cell death. Since either glucose withdrawal or NGF treatment increases intracellular calcium levels of target cells in many cases, we hypothesized that further increase of intracellular calcium by NGF may be a determinant factor in the NGF-mediated cell death. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of NGF on cell death pharmacologically by measuring cell viability and traced the changes of intracellular calcium in various conditions using a confocal laser microscope. NGF promoted cell death under a glucose-deprived condition in a manner dependent on extracellular calcium, and nifedipine, but not ryanodine, could partially block the cell death. NGF treatment augmented further intracellular calcium that had been elevated by glucose withdrawal, the event that nifedipine could block. In this study, therefore, we tentatively concluded that NGF potentiates cell death of starved PC12 cells by accelerating the initial increase of intracellular calcium through activation of a dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2495-2500
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - 3 Aug 1998


  • Cell death
  • Glucose withdrawal
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Nifedipine


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