We previously reported that nicotine withdrawal up-regulates transcription of some immediately early genes (IEGs), c-fos (Ichino et al., 1999) and egr1, nur77 (Ichino et al., 2002) in cultures of pheochromocytoma PC12 cells, which are of neuronal lineage. In the present study we aimed at further elucidating the effects of nicotine withdrawal on the expression of the genes downstream of IEGs. We examined the changes in the protein levels of 2 GTP-binding proteins, Rab2 (Ras-related protein) and Rac1. PC12 cells were cultured in the presence of nicotine for 24 hours, and then the nicotine was removed from the medium. The protein level of Rab2 was low in the presence of nicotine, but was rapidly increased after nicotine withdrawal. In contrast, that of Rac1 did not change after the withdrawal. Considering the neuroprotective effect of nicotine, we also examined the level of Bag-1 protein, which is a binding protein for Bcl-2, an anti-apoptotic factor, and found a slight increase in the gene expression of Bag-1 following nicotine withdrawal. Among 56-kDa, 50-kDa, and 36-kDa protein components of the Bag-1 protein complex, the levels of 56-kDa and 50-kDa proteins were not changed by the addition or withdrawal of nicotine; but the level of the 36-kDa protein, which had been increased in the presence of nicotine, was markedly decreased after nicotine withdrawal. The present results suggest that such changes may also occur in individuals during abstaining from smoking and be related to the withdrawal symptoms experienced after smokers stop smoking.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes