Mechanisms of nerve growth factor mRNA regulation by interleukin‐1β in hippocampal cultures: Role of second messengers

W. J. Friedman, N. Altiok, B. B. Fredholm, H. Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cytokines such as interleukin‐1, which are found in the brain after trauma, regulate expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) mRNA and protein in hippocampal cultures. We have investigated possible mechanisms by which Il‐1β regulates NGF in hippocampal cells. The induction of NGF mRNA by Il‐1β was blocked by a receptor antagonist indicating that this effect is receptor mediated. Il‐1β elicited a dramatic induction of c‐fos mRNA and a slight elevation of c‐jun mRNA in a time dependent manner which may allow for a role in the induction of NGF mRNA expression. We examined whether specific second messenger pathways were involved in mediating the action of Il‐1β in the hippocampus. Activation of cAMP with forskolin or treatment with 8‐Br‐cAMP had no effect on NGF mRNA levels. Moreover, exposure of hippocampal cultures to Il‐1β evoked no change in cAMP levels, indicating that this second messenger system played little or no role in the regulation of NGF expression by Il‐1β in these cells. Further, interleukin‐1 elicited no change in membrane inositol phosphate turnover, nor did it affect intracellular calcium levels. Treatment of cell cultures with the phorbol ester PMA elicited an increase in NGF mRNA, suggesting that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) may mediate NGF mRNA expression. However, prolonged treatment of cultures with PMA to desensitize PKC did not eliminate the Il‐1β induction of NGF mRNA. Il‐1β, therfore, did not appear to activate NGF expression via cAMP, Ca2+, or a PKC isoform that is downregulated by prolonged PMA treatment. However, a phosphorylation event may be involved in the signal transduction mechanism, as treatment with okadaic acid to inhibit protein phosphatase 2a potentiated the induction of NGF mRNA by Il‐1β. The results presented indicate that Il‐1β acts via its receptor in induce a rise in NGF expression. Identification of the specific second messenger pathway has remained elusive; however, a phosphorylation event appears to be intermediary. Moreover, the induction of c‐fos and c‐jun may represent a final common path in activation of NGF gene expression by different signals such as Il‐1β and PMA. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • cAMP
  • c‐fos
  • okadaic acid
  • protein kinase C


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms of nerve growth factor mRNA regulation by interleukin‐1β in hippocampal cultures: Role of second messengers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this