Transcription Factor Brn-3b Overexpression Enhances Neurite Outgrowth in PC12 Cells Under Condition of Hypoxia

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Transcription factor Brn-3b plays a key role in retinal ganglion cell differentiation, survival, and axon outgrowth during development. However, the precise role of Brn-3b in the normal adult retina as well as during neurodegeneration is unclear. In the current study, the effect of overexpression of Brn-3b was assessed in vitro, in PC12 cells under conditions of normoxia and hypoxia. Immunoblot analysis showed that overexpression of Brn-3b in PC12 cells as well as 661W cells produced significant increase in the growth cone marker, growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43), and acetylated-tubulin (ac-TUBA). In addition, an increased immunostaining for GAP-43 and ac-TUBA was observed in PC12 cells overexpressing Brn-3b, which was accompanied by a marked increase in neurite outgrowth, compared to PC12 cells overexpressing the empty vector. In separate experiments, one set of PC12 cells transfected either with a Brn-3b expression vector or an empty vector was subjected to conditions of hypoxia for 2 h, while another set of similarly transfected PC12 cells was maintained in normoxic conditions. It was found that the upregulation of GAP-43 and ac-TUBA in PC12 cells overexpressing Brn-3b under conditions of normoxia was sustained under conditions of hypoxia. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed not only an upregulation of GAP-43 and ac-TUBA, but also increased neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells transfected with Brn-3b as compared to PC12 cells transfected with empty vector in both normoxia and hypoxia. The findings have implications for a potential role of Brn-3b in neurodegenerative diseases in which hypoxia/ischemia contribute to pathophysiology of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-783
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2015


  • Hypoxia
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Transcription factor Brn-3b


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