Roles of apoptosis and autophagy in natural rabies infections

Ozkaraca M, Ozdemir S, Comakli S, Timurkan MO (2022): Roles of apoptosis and autophagy in natural rabies infections. Vet Med-Czech 67, 1–12.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the activity of apoptosis and autophagy in animals (cows, horses, donkeys, dogs and cats) naturally infected with rabies by using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and qPCR. The mRNA transcript levels of caspase-3, Bax, Bcl2 and LC3B were determined with qPCR. Caspase-3 and AIF immunopositivity were not observed in the immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining, whereas LC3B immunopositivity was determined intensively in the infected animals compared to the control groups. LC3B immunopositivity was detected in the cytoplasm of the Purkinje cells in the cerebellum of the cows, horses and donkeys, and also in the cytoplasm of the neurons in the cornu ammonis of the dogs and cats. While the expression levels of caspase-3 and Bax were downregulated, the Bcl2 expression was up-regulated in the infected animals compared to the uninfected animals. In addition, the LC3B levels were found to be significantly higher in the infected animals. To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the first report of neuronal death in the central nervous system by autophagy, rather than by caspase-dependent or AIF-containing caspase-independent apoptosis.

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