It was recently discovered that mutations of tau cause hereditary frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). Here we report that cultured SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells transfected with mutated tau genes are more vulnerable to apoptotic stimulus. Two kinds of mutations of tau causing FTDP-17 were examined in the present study: one was in exon 10 (N279K) and the other was in exon 12 (V337M). SH-SY5Y cells transfected with either mutated tau were more vulnerable to serum withdrawal, whereas cells transfected with the wild-type tau or vector alone showed no significant change in apoptotic vulnerability. The increase in the intracellular calcium concentration by the serum withdrawal was significantly greater in the SH-SY5Y cells transfected with mutated tau genes than in cells transfected with the wild-type tau or vector alone. These results suggest that mutations of tau might cause FTDP-17 by these pro-apoptotic functions by disrupting the intracellular calcium homeostasis.
- Frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism
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