[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of retinal ganglion cells occurs in a variety of pathological conditions, including central retinal artery occlusion, diabetes and glaucoma. Using an experimental model of retinal ischemia induced by transiently raise the intraocular pressure (IOP), In this study, we report the original observation that ischemic retinal ganglion cells death is associated with the transient deactivation of the pro-survival kinase Akt and activation of GSK-3beta followed, during reperfusion, by a longer lasting, PI3K-dependent, activation of Akt and phosphorylation of GSK-3beta. Under these experimental conditions, retinal ischemia induced the expression of Bad, a pro-apoptotic protein, member of the Bcl-2 family. The detrimental effects yielded by the ischemic stimulus were minimized by intravitreal administration of the NMDA receptor antagonist, MK801, that reduced the expression of Bad and significantly increased Akt phosphorylation. In conclusion, our present results contribute to unravel the mechanisms underlying retinal damage by high IOP-induced transient ischemia in rat. In addition, these data implicate the pro-survival PI3K/Akt pathway and the observed reduced expression of Bad in the neuroprotection afforded by MK801.
Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2008; 107(5):1347-57. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endogenous levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, and the activities of the synthesizing and hydrolyzing enzymes, i.e. N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D and fatty acid amide hydrolase, respectively, were determined in the cortex and the striatum of rats subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Anandamide content was markedly increased ( approximately 3-fold over controls; P < 0.01) in the ischemic striatum after 2 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion, but not in the cortex, and this elevation was paralleled by increased activity of N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D ( approximately 1.7-fold; P < 0.01), and reduced activity ( approximately 0.6-fold; P < 0.01) and expression ( approximately 0.7-fold; P < 0.05) of fatty acid amide hydrolase. These effects of middle cerebral artery occlusion were further potentiated by 1 h of reperfusion, whereas anandamide binding to type 1 cannabinoid and type 1 vanilloid receptors was not affected significantly by the ischemic insult. Additionally, the cannabinoid type 1 receptor antagonist SR141716, but not the receptor agonist R-(+)-WIN55,212-2, significantly reduced (33%; P < 0.05) cerebral infarct volume detected 22 h after the beginning of reperfusion. A neuroprotective intraperitoneal dose of 17beta-estradiol (0.20 mg x kg(-1)) that reduced infarct size by 43% also minimized the effect of brain ischemia on the endocannabinoid system, in an estrogen receptor-dependent manner. In conclusion, we show that the endocannabinoid system is implicated in the pathophysiology of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion-induced brain damage, and that neuroprotection afforded by estrogen is coincident with a re-establishment of anandamide levels in the ischemic striatum through a mechanism that needs to be investigated further.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have recently reported that in T lymphocytes leptin and progesterone stimulate the activity and the expression of the endocannabinoid-degrading enzyme anandamide hydrolase (fatty acid amide hydrolase, FAAH). Binding of leptin to its receptor was shown to trigger the activation of FAAH expression through STAT3 signaling, whereas binding of progesterone to its receptor was found to act through the transcription factor Ikaros. Here, we have extended our analysis on the regulation of FAAH promoter to immortalized human lymphoma U937 cells and human neuroblastoma CHP100 cells. We show that leptin and progesterone do not affect the proteins of the endocannabinoid system that synthesize (NAT and NAPE-PLD) and transport (AMT) AEA, and that only FAAH is modulated by the two hormones. More interestingly, this modulation was found only in immune U937 cells, whereas neuronal CHP100 cells were not affected. Yet, CHP100 cells have been recently shown to have receptors for leptin and progesterone, as well as STAT3 and Ikaros, much alike U937 cells. These data suggest a marked cell-specific regulation of FAAH gene along the neuroimmune axis. Keeping in mind the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in neurotoxicity/neuroprotection, relevant implications of these data for the development of new endocannabinoid-oriented drugs can be anticipated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A radiochromatographic method has been set up to assay the activity of N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD), based on reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and online scintillation counting. The anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA), product released by NAPE-PLD from the N-arachidonoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (NArPE) substrate, was separated using a C18 column eluted with methanol-water-acetic acid and was quantified with an external standard method. Baseline separation of AEA and NArPE was completed in less than 15 min, with a detection limit of 0.5 fmol AEA at a signal-to-noise ratio of 4:1. The sensitivity and accuracy of the radiochromatographic procedure allowed detection and characterization of NAPE-PLD activity in very tiny tissue samples or in samples where the enzymatic activity is very low. With this method, we could determine the kinetic constants (i.e., apparent Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) of 40.0+/-5.6 microM and maximum velocity (Vmax) of 22.2+/-3.5 pmol/min per milligram protein toward NArPE) and the distribution of NAPE-PLD activity in brain areas and peripheral tissues of mouse. In addition, we could collect unprecedented evidence that compounds widely used in studies of the endocannabinoid system (e.g., AEA and congeners, receptor a(nta)gonists and inhibitors of AEA degradation) can also affect NAPE-PLD activity.