Bcl-2 family regulation of neuronal development and neurodegeneration

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Mar 1;1644(2-3):189-203. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2003.10.013.


Neuronal cell death is a key feature of both normal nervous system development and neuropathological conditions. The Bcl-2 family, via its regulation of both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent cell death pathways, is uniquely positioned to critically control neuronal cell survival. Targeted gene disruptions of specific bcl-2 family members and the generation of transgenic mice overexpressing anti- or pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members have confirmed the importance of the Bcl-2 family in the nervous system. Data from studies of human brain tissue and experimental animal models of neuropathological conditions support the hypothesis that the Bcl-2 family regulates cell death in the mature nervous system and suggest that pharmacological manipulation of Bcl-2 family action could prove beneficial in the treatment of human neurological conditions such as stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nerve Degeneration / etiology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / etiology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2