Specific pathophysiological functions of JNK isoforms in the brain

Stephan Brecht, Rainer Kirchhof, Ansgar Chromik, Mette Willesen, Thomas Nicolaus, Gennadij Raivich, Jan Wessig, Vicki Waetzig, Mario Goetz, Malte Claussen, Damien Pearse, Chia Yi Kuan, Elisabetha Vaudano, Axel Behrens, Erwin Wagner, Richard A. Flavell, Roger J. Davis, Thomas Herdegen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


We have investigated the effect of JNK1 ko, JNK2 ko, JNK3 ko, JNK2+3 ko and c-JunAA mutation on neuronal survival in adult transgenic mice following ischemia, 6-hydroxydopamine induced neurotoxicity, axon transection and kainic acid induced excitotoxicity. Deletion of JNK isoforms indicated the compartment-specific expression of JNK isoforms with 46-kDa JNK1 as the main phosphorylated JNK isoform. Permanent occlusion of the MCA significantly enlarged the infarct area in JNK1 ko, which showed an increased expression of JNK3 in the penumbra. Survival of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra compacta (SNC) following intrastriatal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine was transiently improved in JNK3 ko and c-JunAA mice after 7 days, but not 60 days. Following transection of the medial forebrain bundle, however, JNK3 ko conferred persisting neuroprotection of axotomised SNC neurons. None of the JNK ko and c-JunAA mutation affected the survival of facial motoneurons following peripheral axotomy when investigated after 90 days. Finally, we determined the impact of JNK ko on the survival of animals and the degeneration of hippocampal neurons following kainic acid. JNK3 ko mice were substantially resistant against and survived kainic acid-induced seizures. JNK3 ko and JNK1 ko showed a nonsignificant tendency for decreased or increased death of hippocampal neurons, respectively. Surprisingly, the deletion of a single JNK isoform did not attenuate the immunocytochemical signal of phosphorylated c-Jun irrespective on the experimental set-up. This comprehensive study provides novel insights into the context-dependent physiological and pathological functions of JNK isoforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-377
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Axotomy
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Excitotoxicity
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Substantia nigra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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