DNase I disinhibition is predominantly associated with actin hyperpolymerization after traumatic brain injury

Florence M. Bareyre, Ramesh Raghupathi, Kathryn E. Saatman, Tracy K. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To elucidate a role for the cytoskeletal protein actin in post-traumatic apoptotic cell death, the ability of actin-containing tissue extracts to inhibit exogenous DNase I was evaluated. In addition, cortical, hippocampal and thalamic extracts were examined for caspase-mediated actin cleavage and changes in actin polymerization state. Rats were anesthetized, subjected to lateral fluid percussion brain injury of moderate severity, and euthanized at 1 h, 6 h, 24 h, 1 week or 3 weeks post-injury (n = 3 per time-point). Tissue extracts from all brain regions of sham (uninjured) animals inhibited exogenous DNase I activity to a significant extent. However, inhibition of DNase I was significantly reduced at 1 h and 6 h in the injured hippocampus, and at 1 h, 6 h and 3 weeks in the thalamus. DNase I in cortical extracts of all injured animals was inhibited to a similar extent as that in uninjured animals. Actin fragments consistent with caspase-mediated proteolysis were observed in immunoblots of the injured hippocampus and thalamus at 1 h and 24 h, respectively, and were present up to 3 weeks post-injury. Transient actin hyperpolymerization was observed at 1 and 6 h post-injury in the thalamus and hippocampus, while actin depolymerization was observed at 1 and 3 weeks in the cortex and thalamus. Collectively our data suggest that DNase I disinhibition following brain trauma is associated predominantly with actin hyperpolymerization but also with actin depolymerization and concomitant caspase-mediated actin proteolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase
  • DNA fragmentation
  • Head injury
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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