Increased Expression of IL-1β Converting Enzyme in Hippocampus after Ischemia: Selective Localization in Microglia Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Although the interleukin-1β converting enzyme (ICE)/CED-3 family of proteases has been implicated recently in neuronal cell deathin vitroandin ovo, the role of specific genes belonging to this family in cell death in the nervous system remains unknown. To address this question, we examined thein vivoexpression of one of these genes,Ice, after global forebrain ischemia in gerbils. Using RT-PCR and Western immunoblot techniques, we detected an increase in the mRNA and protein expression of ICE in hippocampus during a period of 4 d after ischemia. Chromatin condensation was observed in CA1 neurons within 2 d after ischemia. Internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and apoptotic bodies were observed between 3 and 4 d after ischemia, a period during which CA1 neuronal death is maximal. In nonischemic brains, ICE-like immunoreactivity was relatively low in CA1 pyramidal neurons but high in scattered hippocampal interneurons. After ischemia, ICE-like immunoreactivity was not altered in these neurons. ICE-like immunoreactivity, however, was observed in microglial cells in the regions adjacent to the CA1 layer as early as 2 d after ischemic insult. The increase in ICE-like immunoreactivity was robust at 4 d after ischemia, a period that correlates with the DNA fragmentation observed in hippocampal homogenates of ischemic brains. These results provide the first evidence for the localization and induction of ICE expressionin vivoafter ischemia and suggest an indirect role for ICE in ischemic damage through mediation of an inflammatory response.


  • Bhat, Ratan V
  • DiRocco, Richard
  • Marcy, Val R
  • Flood, Dorothy G
  • Zhu, Yuan
  • Dobrzanski, Pawel
  • Siman, Robert
  • Scott, Richard
  • Contreras, Patricia C
  • Miller, Matthew S

publication date

  • July 1, 1996