Exendin-4 improved rat cortical neuron survival under oxygen/glucose deprivation through PKA pathway.Neuroscience. 2012 Dec 13; 226:388-96.N
Previous studies demonstrated that exendin-4 (Ex-4) may possess neurotrophic and neuroprotective functions in ischemia insults, but its mechanism remained unknown. Here, by using real-time PCR and ELISA, we identified the distribution of active GLP-1Rs in the rat primary cortical neurons. After establishment of an in vitro ischemia model by oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD), neurons were treated with various dosages of Ex-4. The MTT assay showed that the relative survival rate increased with the dosage of Ex-4 ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 μg/ml (P<0.001, vs. OGD group). The apoptosis rate was reduced from (49.47±2.70)% to (14.61±0.81)% after Ex-4 treatment (0.4 μg/ml) 12h after OGD (P<0.001). Moreover, immunofluorescence staining indicated that Ex-4 increased glucose-regulated proteins 78 (GRP78) and reduced C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP). Western blot analysis demonstrated that, after neurons were treated with Ex-4, GRP78 was up-regulated over time (P<0.01, vs. OGD group), while CHOP levels rose to a peak 8h after OGD and then decreased (P<0.05, vs. OGD group). This effect was changed by both the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89 (P<0.01, P<0.05, respectively, vs. Ex-4 group) and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 (P<0.01, P<0.01, respectively, vs. Ex-4 group) but not by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor U0126. Our study also revealed that, compared with the Ex-4 group, inhibition of the PKA signaling pathway significantly decreased the survival rate of neurons, down-regulated the expression of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and up-regulated the Bax expression 3h after ODG (P<0.05, P<0.01, respectively), while neither PI3K nor MAPK inhibition exerted such effects. Furthermore, Western blotting exhibited that PKA expression was elevated in the presence or absence of OGD insults (P<0.05). This study indicated that Ex-4 protected neurons against OGD by modulating the unfolded protein response (UPR) through the PKA pathway and may serve as a novel therapeutic agent for stroke.