Indirect evidence indicates that, in cerebral ischemia, melanocortins have neuroprotective effects likely mediated by MC(4) receptors. To gain direct insight into the role of melanocortin MC(4) receptors in ischemic stroke, we investigated the effects of a highly selective MC(4) receptor agonist. Gerbils were subjected to transient global cerebral ischemia by occluding both common carotid arteries for 10min. In saline-treated stroke animals, an impairment in learning and memory occurred that, at day 11 after stroke, was associated with hippocampus up-regulation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), BAX, activated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2), c-jun N-terminal kinases (JNK1/2) and caspase-3, down-regulation of Bcl-2, and neuronal loss. Treatment for 11days with the selective melanocortin MC(4) receptor agonist RO27-3225, as well as with the well known non-selective [Nle(4),D-Phe(7)]α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (NDP-α-MSH) as a reference non-selective melanocortin, counteracted the inflammatory and apoptotic responses, as indicated by the changes in TNF-α, BAX, ERK1/2, JNK1/2, caspase-3 and Bcl-2 protein expression. Furthermore, melanocortin treatment reduced neuronal loss and dose-dependently improved learning and memory. These positive effects were associated with overexpression of Zif268, an immediate early gene involved in injury repair, synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Pharmacological blockade of MC(4) receptors with the selective MC(4) receptor antagonist HS024 prevented all effects of RO27-3225 and NDP-α-MSH. These data give direct evidence that stimulation of MC(4) receptors affords neuroprotection and promotes functional recovery from stroke, by counteracting prolonged and/or recurrent inflammatory and apoptotic responses, and likely by triggering brain repair pathways.

Melanocortin MC(4) receptor agonists counteract late inflammatory and apoptotic responses and improve neuronal functionality after cerebral ischemia / Spaccapelo, L; Bitto, A; Galantucci, M; Ottani, Alessandra; Irrera, N; Minutoli, L; Altavilla, D; Novellino, E; Grieco, P; Zaffe, Davide; Squadrito, F; Giuliani, Daniela; Guarini, Salvatore. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY. - ISSN 0014-2999. - STAMPA. - 670:2-3(2011), pp. 479-486. [10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.09.015]

Melanocortin MC(4) receptor agonists counteract late inflammatory and apoptotic responses and improve neuronal functionality after cerebral ischemia.

OTTANI, Alessandra;ZAFFE, Davide;GIULIANI, Daniela;GUARINI, Salvatore
2011

Abstract

Indirect evidence indicates that, in cerebral ischemia, melanocortins have neuroprotective effects likely mediated by MC(4) receptors. To gain direct insight into the role of melanocortin MC(4) receptors in ischemic stroke, we investigated the effects of a highly selective MC(4) receptor agonist. Gerbils were subjected to transient global cerebral ischemia by occluding both common carotid arteries for 10min. In saline-treated stroke animals, an impairment in learning and memory occurred that, at day 11 after stroke, was associated with hippocampus up-regulation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), BAX, activated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2), c-jun N-terminal kinases (JNK1/2) and caspase-3, down-regulation of Bcl-2, and neuronal loss. Treatment for 11days with the selective melanocortin MC(4) receptor agonist RO27-3225, as well as with the well known non-selective [Nle(4),D-Phe(7)]α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (NDP-α-MSH) as a reference non-selective melanocortin, counteracted the inflammatory and apoptotic responses, as indicated by the changes in TNF-α, BAX, ERK1/2, JNK1/2, caspase-3 and Bcl-2 protein expression. Furthermore, melanocortin treatment reduced neuronal loss and dose-dependently improved learning and memory. These positive effects were associated with overexpression of Zif268, an immediate early gene involved in injury repair, synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Pharmacological blockade of MC(4) receptors with the selective MC(4) receptor antagonist HS024 prevented all effects of RO27-3225 and NDP-α-MSH. These data give direct evidence that stimulation of MC(4) receptors affords neuroprotection and promotes functional recovery from stroke, by counteracting prolonged and/or recurrent inflammatory and apoptotic responses, and likely by triggering brain repair pathways.
2011
670
2-3
479
486
Melanocortin MC(4) receptor agonists counteract late inflammatory and apoptotic responses and improve neuronal functionality after cerebral ischemia / Spaccapelo, L; Bitto, A; Galantucci, M; Ottani, Alessandra; Irrera, N; Minutoli, L; Altavilla, D; Novellino, E; Grieco, P; Zaffe, Davide; Squadrito, F; Giuliani, Daniela; Guarini, Salvatore. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY. - ISSN 0014-2999. - STAMPA. - 670:2-3(2011), pp. 479-486. [10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.09.015]
Spaccapelo, L; Bitto, A; Galantucci, M; Ottani, Alessandra; Irrera, N; Minutoli, L; Altavilla, D; Novellino, E; Grieco, P; Zaffe, Davide; Squadrito, F; Giuliani, Daniela; Guarini, Salvatore
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