Lithium and valproic acid (VPA) are two primary drugs used to treat bipolar mood disorder and have frequently been used in combination to treat bipolar patients resistant to monotherapy with either drug. Lithium, a glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) inhibitor, and VPA, a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, have neuroprotective effects. The present study was undertaken to demonstrate synergistic neuroprotective effects when both drugs were coadministered. Pretreatment of aging cerebellar granule cells with lithium or VPA alone provided little or no neuroprotection against glutamate-induced cell death. However, copresence of both drugs resulted in complete blockade of glutamate excitotoxicity. Combined treatment with lithium and VPA potentiated serine phosphorylation of GSK-3 alpha and beta isoforms and inhibition of GSK-3 enzyme activity. Transfection with GSK-3alpha small interfering RNA (siRNA) and/or GSK-3beta siRNA mimicked the ability of lithium to induce synergistic protection with VPA. HDAC1 siRNA or other HDAC inhibitors (phenylbutyrate, sodium butyrate or trichostatin A) also caused synergistic neuroprotection together with lithium. Moreover, combination of lithium and HDAC inhibitors potentiated beta-catenin-dependent, Lef/Tcf-mediated transcriptional activity. An additive increase in GSK-3 serine phosphorylation was also observed in mice chronically treated with lithium and VPA. Together, for the first time, our results demonstrate synergistic neuroprotective effects of lithium and HDAC inhibitors and suggest that GSK-3 inhibition is a likely molecular target for the synergistic neuroprotection. Our results may have implications for the combined use of lithium and VPA in treating bipolar disorder. Additionally, combined use of both drugs may be warranted for clinical trials to treat glutamate-related neurodegenerative diseases.
"Interestingly, when LiCl-treated groups were paired with their respective H2O-treated equivalent groups, all comparisons showed a lithium significant effect decreasing tau-p levels (p<0.0001 for all groups; Student-t tests), which was more prominent between H2O–Aβ and LiCl-Aβ, in resemblance to the cognitive data (Figure 2). These protective effects of LiCl over the basal and Aβ-induced phosphorylation have been previously shown in other systems 
 but not in zebrafish. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder with no effective treatment and commonly diagnosed only on late stages. Amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation and exacerbated tau phosphorylation are molecular hallmarks of AD implicated in cognitive deficits and synaptic and neuronal loss. The Aβ and tau connection is beginning to be elucidated and attributed to interaction with different components of common signaling pathways. Recent evidences suggest that non-fibrillary Aβ forms bind to membrane receptors and modulate GSK-3β activity, which in turn phosphorylates the microtubule-associated tau protein leading to axonal disruption and toxic accumulation. Available AD animal models, ranging from rodent to invertebrates, significantly contributed to our current knowledge, but complementary platforms for mechanistic and candidate drug screenings remain critical for the identification of early stage biomarkers and potential disease-modifying therapies. Here we show that Aβ1-42 injection in the hindbrain ventricle of 24 hpf zebrafish embryos results in specific cognitive deficits and increased tau phosphorylation in GSK-3β target residues at 5dpf larvae. These effects are reversed by lithium incubation and not accompanied by apoptotic markers. We believe this may represent a straightforward platform useful to identification of cellular and molecular mechanisms of early stage AD-like symptoms and the effects of neuroactive molecules in pharmacological screenings.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e105862. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105862 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim:
To determine whether angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) could protect central neurons against nutrient deprivation-induced apoptosis in vitro and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Primary rat cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) underwent B27 (a serum substitute) deprivation for 24 h to induce neurotoxicity, and cell viability was analyzed using LDH assay and WST-1 assay. DNA laddering assay and TUNEL assay were used to detect cell apoptosis. The expression of caspase-3 and Bcl-2, and the phosphorylation of Akt and GSK-3β were detected using Western blot analysis. AT1a mRNA expression was determined using RT-PCR analysis.
B27 deprivation significantly increased the apoptosis of CGCs, as demonstrated by LDH release, DNA laddering, caspase-3 activation and positive TUNEL staining. Pretreatment with 10 μmol/L ARBs (telmisartan, candesartan or losartan) partially blocked B27 deprivation-induced apoptosis of CGCs with telmisartan being the most effective one. B27 deprivation markedly increased the expression of AT1a receptor in CGCs, inhibited Akt and GSK-3β activation, decreased Bcl-2 level, and activated caspase-3, which were reversed by pretreatment with 1 μmol/L telmisartan. In addition, pretreatment with 10 μmol/L PPARγ agonist pioglitazone was more effective in protecting CGCs against B27 deprivation-induced apoptosis, whereas pretreatment with 20 μmol/L PPARγ antagonist GW9662 abolished all the effects of telmisartan in CGCs deprived of B27.
ARBs, in particular telmisartan, can protect the nutrient deprivation-induced apoptosis of CGCs in vitro through activation of PPARγ and the Akt/GSK-3β pathway.
"Significant effort is being expended on identification of agents to pharmacologically manipulate the BDNF/TrkB pathway and HDAC activity. As with most neurodegenerative diseases, poly-pharmacy will likely be required , highlighting the need to determine interactions between potential treatments. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurotrophins and modifiers of chromatin acetylation and deacetylation participate in regulation of transcription during neuronal maturation and maintenance. The striatal medium spiny neuron is supported by cortically-derived brain derived neurotrophic factor and is the most vulnerable neuron in Huntington's disease, in which growth factor and histone deacetylase activity are both disrupted. We examined the ability of three histone deacetylase inhibitors, trichostatin A, valproic acid and Compound 4 b, alone and combined with brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), to promote phenotypic maturation of striatal medium spiny neurons in vitro. Exposure of these neurons to each of the three compounds led to an increase in overall histone H3 and H4 acetylation, dopamine and cyclic AMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32 kDa (DARPP-32) mRNA and protein, and mRNA levels of other markers of medium spiny neuron maturation. We were, however, unable to prove that HDAC inhibitors directly lead to remodeling of Ppp1r1b chromatin. In addition, induction of DARPP-32 by brain-derived neurotrophic factor was inhibited by histone deacetylase inhibitors. Although BDNF-induced increases in pTrkB, pAkt, pERK and Egr-1 were unchanged by combined application with VPA, the increase in DARPP-32 was relatively diminished. Strikingly, the NGF1A-binding protein, Nab2, was induced by BDNF, but not in the presence of VPA or TSA. Gel shift analysis showed that α-Nab2 super-shifted a band that is more prominent with extract derived from BDNF-treated neurons than with extracts from cultures treated with VPA alone or VPA plus BDNF. In addition, overexpression of Nab2 induced DARPP-32. We conclude that histone deacetylase inhibitors inhibit the induction of Nab2 by BDNF, and thereby the relative induction of DARPP-32.
PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e76842. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0076842 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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