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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1523; doi:10.3390/ijms17101523

Morphine Protects Spinal Cord Astrocytes from Glutamate-Induced Apoptosis via Reducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress

1
Department of Forensic Medicine, Shanxi Medical University, 56 South Xinjian Road, Taiyuan 030001, China
2
Department of Nephrology, People’s Hospital of Shanxi Province, 29 Shuang-ta Street, Taiyuan 030012, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Katalin Prokai-Tatrai
Received: 25 July 2016 / Revised: 30 August 2016 / Accepted: 4 September 2016 / Published: 24 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Strategies 2016)
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Abstract

Glutamate is not only a neurotransmitter but also an important neurotoxin in central nervous system (CNS). Chronic elevation of glutamate induces both neuronal and glial cell apoptosis. However, its effect on astrocytes is complex and still remains unclear. In this study, we investigated whether morphine, a common opioid ligand, could affect glutamate-induced apoptosis in astrocytes. Primary cultured astrocytes were incubated with glutamate in the presence/absence of morphine. It was found that morphine could reduce glutamate-induced apoptosis of astrocytes. Furthermore, glutamate activated Ca2+ release, thereby inducing endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in astrocytes, while morphine attenuated this deleterious effect. Using siRNA to reduce the expression of κ-opioid receptor, morphine could not effectively inhibit glutamate-stimulated Ca2+ release in astrocytes, the protective effect of morphine on glutamate-injured astrocytes was also suppressed. These results suggested that morphine could protect astrocytes from glutamate-induced apoptosis via reducing Ca2+ overload and ER stress pathways. In conclusion, this study indicated that excitotoxicity participated in the glutamate mediated apoptosis in astrocytes, while morphine attenuated this deleterious effect via regulating Ca2+ release and ER stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: astrocytes; glutamate; morphine; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum astrocytes; glutamate; morphine; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum
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Zhang, C.; Wang, C.; Ren, J.; Guo, X.; Yun, K. Morphine Protects Spinal Cord Astrocytes from Glutamate-Induced Apoptosis via Reducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1523.

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