Background: Neurite outgrowth is an important aspect of neuronal plasticity and regeneration after neuronal injury. Alpha-lipoic acid (LA) has been used as a therapeutic approach for a variety of neural disorders. We recently reported that LA prevents local anesthetics-induced neurite loss. In this study, we hypothesized that LA administration promotes neurite outgrowth. Methods: To test our hypothesis, we treated mouse neuroblastoma N2a cells and primary neurons with LA. Neurite outgrowth was evaluated by examination of morphological changes and by immunocytochemistry for α-tubulin-3. ROS production was examined, as were the phosphorylation levels of ERK and Akt. In separate experiments, we determined the effects of the inhibition of ERK or PI3K/Akt as well as ROS production on LA-induced neurite outgrowth. Results: LA promoted significantly neurite outgrowth in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. LA stimulation significantly increased the phosphorylation levels of both Akt and ERK and transiently induced ROS production. PI3K/Akt inhibition did not affect LA-induced neurite outgrowth. However, the inhibition of ERK activation completely abolished LA-induced neurite outgrowth. Importantly, the prevention of ROS production by antioxidants attenuated LA-stimulated ERK activation and completely abolished LA-promoted neurite outgrowth. Conclusion: Our data suggest that LA stimulates neurite outgrowth through the activation of ERK signaling, an effect mediated through a ROS-dependent mechanism. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 11th European Symposium on Calcium. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Wang, X., Wang, Z., Yao, Y., Li, J., Zhang, X., Li, C., … Ding, Z. (2011). Essential role of ERK activation in neurite outgrowth induced by α-lipoic acid. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1813(5), 827–838. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2011.01.027