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Proteolysis of NR2B by calpain in the hippocampus of epileptic rats

Araujo IM, Xapelli S, Gil JM, Mohapel P, Petersén Å, Pinheiro PS, Malva JO, Bahr BA, Brundin P and Carvalho CM.

Neuroreport 16: 393-396 (2005)


Overactivation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors is known to mediate excitotoxicity due to excessive entry of calcium, leading to the activation of several calcium-dependent enzymes. Calpains are calcium-activated proteases that appear to play a role in excitotoxic neuronal death. Several cellular proteins are substrates for these proteases, particularly the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. Recently, cleavage of NR2B subunits has been implicated in excitotoxic neurodegeneration in ischemia. In this work, we investigated the proteolysis by calpains of NR2B subunits of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor in the hippocampus of epileptic rats. Our results show that cleaved forms of NR2B subunits are formed after status epilepticus, in the same areas of the hippocampus where calpain activation was detected by immunohistochemical staining of calpain-specific spectrin breakdown products.