Neuroprotective Effects of the DPP4 Inhibitor Vildagliptin in In Vivo and In Vitro Models of Parkinson's Disease.Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 21; 23(4)IJ
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of the midbrain. Restoration of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons has been proposed as a potential therapeutic strategy for PD. Because currently used PD therapeutics only help relieve motor symptoms and do not treat the cause of the disease, highly effective drugs are needed. Vildagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitor, is an anti-diabetic drug with various pharmacological properties including neuroprotective effects. However, the detailed effects of vildagliptin against PD are not fully understood. We investigated the effects of vildagliptin on PD and its underlying molecular mechanisms using a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model and a 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridium (MPP+)-induced cytotoxicity model. Vildagliptin (50 mg/kg) administration significantly attenuated MPTP-induced motor deficits as evidenced by rotarod, pole, and nest building tests. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis revealed that vildagliptin increased tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells in the SNpc and striatum, which was reduced by MPTP treatment. Furthermore, vildagliptin activated MPTP-decreased PI3k/Akt and mitigated MPTP-increased ERK and JNK signaling pathways in the striatum. Consistent with signaling transduction in the mouse striatum, vildagliptin reversed MPP+-induced dephosphorylation of PI3K/Akt and phosphorylation of ERK and JNK in SH-SY5Y cells. Moreover, vildagliptin attenuated MPP+-induced conversion of LC3B-II in SH-SY5Y cells, suggesting its role in autophagy inhibition. Taken together, these findings indicate that vildagliptin has protective effects against MPTP-induced motor dysfunction by inhibiting dopaminergic neuronal apoptosis, which is associated with regulation of PI3k/Akt, ERK, and JNK signaling transduction. Our findings suggest vildagliptin as a promising repurposing drug to treat PD.