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Cell Biology International (2009) 33, 874–881 (Printed in Great Britain)
Quinacrine protects neuronal cells against heat-induced injury
Jun‑Tao Gaoa, Shu‑Hong Liub, You‑E. Yanc, Yan Wub, Hai‑Tao Wub, Cheng Xingb, Xue‑Ming Geb, Hui Wangc, Yong‑Qi Zhaob* and Ming Fanab*
aDepartment of Neurobiology, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China
bBeijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing 100850, China
cDepartment of Pharmacology, Medical College, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, China


The effects of quinacrine (QA) on heat-induced neuronal injury have been explored, with the intention of understanding the mechanisms of QA protection. Primary cultivated striatum neurons from newborn rats were treated with QA 1h before heat treatment at 43°C which lasted for another 1h, and necrosis and apoptosis were detected by Annexin-V-FITC and propidium iodide (PI) double staining. Neuronal apoptosis was determined using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated UTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) techniques. Cell membrane fluidity, activity of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) and the level of arachidonic acid (AA) were also examined. Membrane surface ultrastructure of striatum neurons was investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Results showed that heat treatment induced great striatum neurons death, with many dying neurons undergoing necrosis rather than apoptosis. QA alone had little effect on the survival of striatum neurons, while QA pretreatment before heat treatment decreased necrosis. Heat treatment also resulted in decreased membrane fluidity and increased cPLA2 activity as well as arachidonic acid level; these effects were reversed by QA pretreatment. QA pretreatment also significantly prevented damage to the membrane surface ultrastructure of heat-treated neurons. These results suggest that QA protects striatum neurons against heat-induced neuronal necrosis, and also demonstrate that inhibition of cPLA2 activity and stabilization of membranes may contribute to protective effect of quinacrine.

Key words: cPLA2, Heat stress, Necrosis, Quinacrine, Striatum neurons.

*Corresponding authors. Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, No. 27 Taiping Road, Beijing 100850, China. Tel./fax: +86 10 6821 4026.

Received 24 October 2008/18 March 2009; accepted 14 April 2009


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)