Caspase-3 in the central nervous system: Beyond apoptosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caspase-3 has been identified as a key mediator of neuronal programmed cell death. This protease plays a central role in the developing nervous system and its activation is observed early in neural tube formation and persists during postnatal differentiation of the neural network. Caspase-3 activation, a crucial event of neuronal cell death program, is also a feature of many chronic neurodegenerative diseases. This traditional apoptotic function of caspase-3 is challenged by recent studies that reveal new cell death-independent roles for mitochondrial-activated caspase-3 in neurite pruning and synaptic plasticity. These findings underscore the need for further research into the mechanism of action and functions of caspase-3 that may prove useful in the development of novel pharmacological treatments for a diverse range of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-709
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Long-term depression
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Neuronal differentiation
  • Synaptic loss
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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