Dysregulation of Akt signaling is important in a broad range of diseases that includes cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The role of Akt signaling in brain disorders is less clear. We found that global ischemia in intact rats triggered expression and activation of the Akt inhibitor CTMP (carboxyl-terminal modulator protein) in vulnerable hippocampal neurons and that CTMP bound and extinguished Akt activity and was essential to ischemia-induced neuronal death. Although ischemia induced a marked phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Akt, phosphorylated Akt was not active in post-ischemic neurons, as assessed by kinase assays and phosphorylation of the downstream targets GSK-3Β and FOXO3A. RNA interference-mediated depletion of CTMP in a clinically relevant model of stroke restored Akt activity and rescued hippocampal neurons. Our results indicate that CTMP is important in the neurodegeneration that is associated with stroke and identify CTMP as a therapeutic target for the amelioration of hippocampal injury and cognitive deficits.
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