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

William J. Burke, Girija Raghu, Randy Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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)


Dive into the research topics of 'Taxol protects against calcium-mediated death of differentiated rat pheochromocytoma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this