[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immediately following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and TBI with hypoxia, there is a rapid and pathophysiological increase in extracellular glutamate, subsequent neuronal damage and ultimately diminished motor and cognitive function. N-acetyl-aspartyl glutamate (NAAG), a prevalent neuropeptide in the CNS, is co-released with glutamate, binds the presynaptic mGluR3 (group II metabotropic glutamate receptor) and suppresses glutamate release. However, the catalytic enzyme glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) rapidly hydrolyzes NAAG into NAA and glutamate. Inhibition of the GCPII enzyme with NAAG peptidase inhibitors reduces the concentration of glutamate both by increasing the duration of NAAG activity on mGluR3 and by reducing degradation into NAA and glutamate resulting in reduced cell death in models of TBI and TBI with hypoxia. In the following study, rats were administered the NAAG peptidase inhibitor PGI-02776 (10mg/kg) 30min following TBI combined with a hypoxic second insult. Over the two weeks following injury, PGI-02776 treated rats had significantly improved motor function as measured by increased duration on the rota-rod and a trend toward improved performance on the beam walk. Furthermore, two weeks post-injury, PGI-02776-treated animals had a significant decrease in latency to find the target platform in the Morris water maze as compared to vehicle-treated animals. These findings demonstrate that the application of NAAG peptidase inhibitors can reduce the deleterious motor and cognitive effects of TBI combined with a second hypoxic insult in the weeks following injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to a rapid and excessive glutamate elevation in the extracellular milieu, resulting in neuronal degeneration and astrocyte damage. Posttraumatic hypoxia is a clinically relevant secondary insult that increases the magnitude and duration of glutamate release following TBI. N-acetyl-aspartyl glutamate (NAAG), a prevalent neuropeptide in the CNS, suppresses presynaptic glutamate release by its action at the mGluR3 (a group II metabotropic glutamate receptor). However, extracellular NAAG is rapidly converted into NAA and glutamate by the catalytic enzyme glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) reducing presynaptic inhibition. We previously reported that the GCPII inhibitor ZJ-43 and its prodrug di-ester PGI-02776 reduce the deleterious effects of excessive extracellular glutamate when injected systemically within the first 30 min following injury. We now report that PGI-02776 (10mg/kg) is neuroprotective when administered 30 min post-injury in a model of TBI plus 30 min of hypoxia (FiO(2)=11%). 24h following TBI with hypoxia, significant increases in neuronal cell death in the CA1, CA2/3, CA3c, hilus and dentate gyrus were observed in the ipsilateral hippocampus. Additionally, there was a significant reduction in the number of astrocytes in the ipsilateral CA1, CA2/3 and in the CA3c/hilus/dentate gyrus. Administration of PGI-02776 immediately following the cessation of hypoxia significantly reduced neuronal and astrocytic cell death across all regions of the hippocampus. These findings indicate that NAAG peptidase inhibitors administered post-injury can significantly reduce the deleterious effects of TBI combined with a secondary hypoxic insult.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to a rapid and excessive increase in glutamate concentration in the extracellular milieu, which is strongly associated with excitotoxicity and neuronal degeneration. N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), a prevalent peptide neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system, is released along with glutamate and suppresses glutamate release by actions at pre-synaptic metabotropic glutamate autoreceptors. Extracellular NAAG is hydrolyzed to N-acetylaspartate and glutamate by peptidase activity. In the present study PGI-02776, a newly designed di-ester prodrug of the urea-based NAAG peptidase inhibitor ZJ-43, was tested for neuroprotective potential when administered intraperitoneally 30 min after lateral fluid percussion TBI in the rat. Stereological quantification of hippocampal CA2-3 degenerating neurons at 24 h post injury revealed that 10 mg/kg PGI-02776 significantly decreased the number of degenerating neurons (p<0.05). Both average latency analysis of Morris water maze performance and assessment of 24-hour memory retention revealed significant differences between sham-TBI and TBI-saline. In contrast, no significant difference was found between sham-TBI and PGI-02776 treated groups in either analysis indicating an improvement in cognitive performance with PGI-02776 treatment. Histological analysis on day 16 post-injury revealed significant cell death in injured animals regardless of treatment. In vitro NAAG peptidase inhibition studies demonstrated that the parent compound (ZJ-43) exhibited potent inhibitory activity while the mono-ester (PGI-02749) and di-ester (PGI-02776) prodrug compounds exhibited moderate and weak levels of inhibitory activity, respectively. Pharmacokinetic assays in uninjured animals found that the di-ester (PGI-02776) crossed the blood-brain barrier. PGI-02776 was also readily hydrolyzed to both the mono-ester (PGI-02749) and the parent compound (ZJ-43) in both blood and brain. Overall, these findings suggest that post-injury treatment with the ZJ-43 prodrug PGI-02776 reduces both acute neuronal pathology and longer term cognitive deficits associated with TBI.