ABSTRACT: We investigated whether certain hydrophobic dipeptides, Leu-Ile, Leu-Pro, and Pro-Ile, which partially resemble the site on FK506 that binds to immunophilin, could stimulate glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) synthesis in cultured neurons and found only Leu-Ile to be an active dipeptide. Leu-Ile protected against the death of mesencephalic neurons from wild-type mice but not from mice lacking the BDNF or GDNF gene. Next, we examined the effects of i.p. or i.c.v. administration of Leu-Ile on BDNF and GDNF contents. Both types of administration increased the contents of BDNF and GDNF in the striatum of mice. Also, peripheral administration of Leu-Ile inhibited dopaminergic (DA) denervation caused by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the striatum of mice. The number of rotations following a methamphetamine challenge was lower in the Leu-Ile-treated group than in the nontreated group. Next, we compared the calcineurin activity and immunosuppressant activity of Leu-Ile with those of FK506. Leu-Ile was not inhibitory toward calcineurin cellular activity in cultured neuronal cells. Furthermore, Leu-Ile did not suppress concanavalin A (ConA)-induced synthesis/secretion of interleukin-2 by cultured spleen cells, suggesting that the immunosuppressant activity of Leu-Ile may be negligible when used as a therapeutic tool for neurodegenerative diseases.
Journal of Neuroscience Research 11/2004; 78(2):250-8. · 2.74 Impact Factor