Taxol protects against calcium-mediated death of differentiated rat pheochromocytoma cells

William J. Burke, Girija Raghu, Randy Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Elevated levels of intraneuronal calcium may contribute to neuronal death in both Alzheimer's disease and stroke. In part, this neuronal death may be due to calcium-induced disruption of microtubules and inhibition of axonal transport. Taxol stabilizes microtubules to disaggregation. To determine whether taxol could protect against calcium-mediated neuron cell death, a test system was established using a nerve growth factor-differentiated rat pheochromocytoma cell line (PC12 cells). PC12 cells were cultured with nerve growth factor to induce a neuronal phenotype. After 15 days, the cells were exposed to taxol, the calcium ionophore, A23187, or taxol plus ionophore for up to 24 h. Taxol alone reduced cell survival in a concentration dependent manner. At a concentration of 50 nM survival was reduced to between 63% and 84% of control after 4 h of exposure. The ionophore (1 μM) variably reduced cell survival to between 10 and 55% at 4h. However, when tacol was added to the ionophore the cell survival was significantly increased by 1.5 to 4-fold. The protective effect of taxol lasted up to 24h. We conclude that taxol has a protective effect on calcium-mediated neurotoxicity. Drugs targeting underlying cellular mechanisms involved in calcium-mediated neuronal death may lead to successful therapy for Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)PL313-PL319
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1994


  • PC12 cells
  • calcium-mediated cell death
  • nerve growth factor
  • taxol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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