Substantial neuroprotection against K+ deprivation-induced apoptosis in primary cerebellar granule neurons by novel dimer bis(propyl)-cognitin via the activation of VEGFR-2 signaling pathway

Sheng-Quan Hu, Wei Cui, Da-Ping Xu, Shing-Hung Mak, Jing Tang, Chung-Lit Choi, Yuan-Ping Pang, Yi-Fan Han
CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 2013, 19 (10): 764-72

BACKGROUND: Neuronal loss via apoptosis in CNS is the fundamental mechanism underlying various neurodegenerative diseases. Compounds with antiapoptotic property might have therapeutic effects for these diseases. In this study, bis(propyl)-cognitin (B3C), a novel dimer that possesses anti-AChE and anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor activities, was investigated for its neuroprotective effect on K(+) deprivation-induced apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs).

METHODS: Cerebellar granule neurons were switched to K(+) deprived medium with or without B3C. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium assay, fluorescein diacetate (FDA)/propidium iodide (PI) staining, Hoechst staining, and DNA laddering assays were applied to detect cytotoxicity and apoptosis. Additionally, the expression of p-VEGFR-2, p-Akt, p-glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), and p-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was examined in CGNs.

RESULTS: Switching CGNs to K(+) deprived medium resulted in remarkable apoptosis, which could be substantially blocked by B3C treatment (IC50 , 0.37 μM). Moreover, a rapid decrease in p-Tyr1054-VEGFR-2 was observed after the switch. B3C significantly reversed the inhibition of p-Tyr1054-VEGFR-2 as well as Akt and ERK pathways. VEGFR-2 inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584, as well as PI3-K inhibitor LY294002 and MEK inhibitor PD98059, each abolished the neuroprotective effect of B3C.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that B3C blocks K(+) deprivation-induced apoptosis in CGNs through regulating VEGFR-2/Akt/GSK3β and VEGFR-2/ERK signaling pathways, providing a molecular insight into the therapeutic potential of B3C for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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