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Cell type-specific resistance of trigeminal ganglion neurons towards apoptotic stimuli

Geenen, K., Favoreel, H.W., Nauwynck, H.J.
Veterinary microbiology 2006 v.113 no.3-4 pp. 223-229
Suid herpesvirus 1, ganglia, neurons, apoptosis, swine diseases, viral diseases of animals and humans, swine, infection, latent period, vertebrate viruses, viral proteins, cultured cells, in vitro studies, protein kinases
Trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons are important target cells for many alphaherpesviruses and constitute a major site of virus latency and reactivation. Earlier we showed that porcine TG neurons are remarkably more resistant towards (apoptotic) cell death resulting from infection by the swine alphaherpesvirus pseudorabies virus (PRV) compared to a broad range of other primary porcine cell types and that this resistance does not depend on the strongly anti-apoptotic US3 viral protein kinase (Geenen, K., Favoreel, H.W., Nauwynck, H.J., 2005a. Higher resistance of porcine trigeminal ganglion neurons towards pseudorabies virus-induced cell death compared with other porcine cell types in vitro. J. Gen. Virol. 86, 1251-1260). Although other viral anti-apoptotic proteins may be involved in survival of TG neurons during PRV infection, an additional factor may be that TG neurons possess a cell type-dependent capacity to withstand apoptosis compared to other cell types. To investigate this, we treated uninfected porcine TG cultures, swine kidney cells, and porcine superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons with several apoptosis-inducing reagents (staurosporine, camptothecin and genistein). None of these reagents were able to trigger substantial apoptotic cell death in TG neurons, whereas non-neuronal TG cells, swine kidney cells, and SCG neurons showed a clear dose-dependent increase in apoptosis using either of these reagents. In conclusion, sensory TG neurons may contain a cell type-specific capacity to withstand different apoptotic assaults, including infection with an alphaherpesvirus.