Etoposide induces programmed death in neurons cultured from the fetal rat central nervous system

Brain Res. 1994 Apr 4;641(2):350-2. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)90165-1.


The effects of etoposide on the death of neurons cultured from the central nervous system (CNS) of fetal rats were examined. The cultured neurons died in the presence of 1-40 micrograms/ml of etoposide, which is known to induce programmed death in some kinds of cells, and this cytotoxic effect was prevented by inhibition of protein synthesis and/or RNA synthesis. Furthermore, DNA degradation, including a ladder-like pattern, became evident in these neurons 3 h after incubation with etoposide (10 micrograms/ml), whereas cell death commenced after about 6 h. These results indicate that etoposide-treated CNS neurons require new protein and RNA synthesis to undergo an active death programme, and that internucleosomal fragmentation of DNA mediates the etoposide-induced programmed cell death. This culture system of etoposide-treated CNS neurons is thought to be a useful model for the study of programmed neuronal cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology*
  • DNA / drug effects
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA Damage*
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Etoposide / toxicity*
  • Kinetics
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Time Factors


  • Dactinomycin
  • Etoposide
  • DNA
  • Cycloheximide