Glial CellsInterleukin (IL)-1β-mediated apoptosis of human astrocytesEhrlich, Laura C.1; Peterson, Phillip K.1; Hu, Shuxian1,2Author Information 1Institute for Brain and Immune Disorders, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, and the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, 914 South 8th Street D305, MN 55404, USA. 2Corresponding Author: Shuxian Hu ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This study was supported by NIH grant DA09924. Received 10 March 1999; accepted 21 April 1999 NeuroReport: June 23rd, 1999 - Volume 10 - Issue 9 - p 1849-1852 Buy Abstract APOPTOSIS of brain cells is observed in many inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system. Nitric oxide (NO) has been shown to induce apoptosis in several brain cell types, but not previously in astrocytes. In the present study, the hypothesis was examined that interleukin (IL)-1β would induce production of NO by astrocytes which, in turn, would signal apoptotic death in these glial cells. TUNEL staining demonstrated apoptosis in astrocytes treated with IL-1β. Using an ELISA method, IL-1 receptor antagonist protein completely abrogated this astrocyte apoptosis, while NG-monomethyl-L-arginine partially prevented apoptosis but almost entirely blocked NO production. Thus, IL-1β appears to signal apoptosis of astrocytes by a mechanism involving, in part, the induction of NO. © 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.