Flupirtine attenuates chronic restraint stress-induced cognitive deficits and hippocampal apoptosis in male mice.Behav Brain Res 2015; 288:1-10BB
Chronic restraint stress (CRS) causes hippocampal neurodegeneration and hippocampus-dependent cognitive deficits. Flupirtine represents neuroprotective effects and we have previously shown that flupirtine can protect against memory impairment induced by acute stress. The present study aimed to investigate whether flupirtine could alleviate spatial learning and memory impairment and hippocampal apoptosis induced by CRS. CRS mice were restrained in well-ventilated Plexiglass tubes for 6h daily beginning from 10:00 to 16:00 for 21 consecutive days. Mice were injected with flupirtine (10mg/kg and 25mg/kg) or vehicle (10% DMSO) 30min before restraint stress for 21 days. After stressor cessation, the spatial learning and memory, dendritic spine density, injured neurons and the levels of Bcl-2, Bax, p-Akt, p-GSK-3β, p-Erk1/2 and synaptophysin of hippocampal tissues were examined. Our results showed that flupirtine significantly prevented spatial learning and memory impairment induced by CRS in the Morris water maze. In addition, flupirtine (10mg/kg and 25mg/kg) treatment alleviated neuronal apoptosis and the reduction of dendritic spine density and synaptophysin expression in the hippocampal CA1 region of CRS mice. Furthermore, flupirtine (10mg/kg and 25mg/kg) treatment significantly decreased the expression of Bax and increased the p-Akt and p-GSK-3β, and flupirtine (25mg/kg) treatment up-regulated the p-Erk1/2 in the hippocampus of CRS mice. These results suggested that flupirtine exerted protective effects on the CRS-induced cognitive impairment and hippocampal neuronal apoptosis, which is possibly associated with the activation of Akt/GSK-3β and Erk1/2 signaling pathways.