A constitutively active form of neurokinin 1 receptor and neurokinin 1 receptor-mediated apoptosis in glioblastomas

Toshimasa Akazawa, Shawn G. Kwatra, Laura E. Goldsmith, Mark D. Richardson, Elizabeth A. Cox, John H. Sampson, Madan M. Kwatra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) occurs naturally in human glioblastomas and its stimulation causes cell proliferation. In the present study we show that stimulation of NK1R in human U373 glioblastoma cells by substance P increases Akt phosphorylation by 2.5-fold, with an EC 50 of 57 nM. Blockade of NK1R lowers basal phosphorylation of Akt, indicating the presence of a constitutively active form of NK1R; similar results are seen in U251 MG and DBTRG-05 glioblastoma cells. Linkage of NK1R to Akt implicates NK1R in apoptosis of glioblastoma cells. Indeed, treatment of serum-starved U373 cells with substance P reduces apoptosis by 53 ± 1% (p < 0.05), and treatment with NK1R antagonist L-733,060 increases apoptosis by 64 ± 16% (p < 0.01). Further, the blockade of NK1R in human glioblastoma cells with L-733,060 causes cleavage of Caspase-3 and proteolysis of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. Experiments designed to elucidate the mechanism of NK1R-mediated Akt phosphorylation revealed total involvement of non-receptor tyrosine kinase Src and phosphatidyl-3-kinase, a partial involvement of epidermal growth factor receptor, and no involvement of mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-related kinase. Taken together, the results of the present study indicate a key role for NK1R in glioblastoma apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1086
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt
  • Apoptosis
  • Glioblastoma
  • Neurokinin 1 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A constitutively active form of neurokinin 1 receptor and neurokinin 1 receptor-mediated apoptosis in glioblastomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this