Multimodal neuroprotection induced by PACAP38 in Oxygen-glucose deprivation and middle cerebral artery occlusion stroke models

Philip Lazarovici*, Gadi Cohen, Hadar Arien-Zakay, Jieli Chen, Chunling Zhang, Michael Chopp, Hao Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide (PACAP), a potent neuropeptide which crosses the blood-brain barrier, is known to provide neuroprotection in rat stroke models of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) by mechanism(s) which deserve clarification. We confirmed that following i.v. injection of 30 ng/kg of PACAP38 in rats exposed to 2 h of MCAO focal cerebral ischemia and 48 h reoxygenation, 50 % neuroprotection was measured by reduced caspase-3 activity and volume of cerebral infarction. Similar neuroprotective effects were measured upon PACAP38 treatment of oxygen- glucose deprivation and reoxygenation of brain cortical neurons. The neuroprotection was temporally associated with increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, phosphorylation of its receptor-tropomyosin-related kinase receptor type B (trkB), activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Akt, and reduction of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 phosphorylation. PACAP38 increased expression of neuronal markers beta-tubulin III, microtubule-associated protein-2, and growthassociated protein-43. PACAP38 induced stimulation of Rac and suppression of Rho GTPase activities. PACAP38 downregulated the nerve growth factor receptor (p75NTR) and associated Nogo-(Neurite outgrowth-A) receptor. Collectively, these in vitro and in vivo results propose that PACAP exhibits neuroprotective effects in cerebral ischemia by three mechanisms: a direct one, mediated by PACAP receptors, and two indirect, induced by neurotrophin release, activation of the trkB receptors and attenuation of neuronal growth inhibitory signaling molecules p75NTR and Nogo receptor.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)526-540
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments PL holds the Jacob Gitlin Chair in Physiology and is affiliated and supported by David R. Bloom Center for Pharmacy and Dr. Adolf and Klara Brettler Center for Research in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. This work was also supported in part by NIH grants PO1 NS023393 (MC) and RO1 AG037506 (MC). The authors wish to thank Ms. Zehava Cohen for graphic work.


  • Akt
  • Apoptosis
  • BDNF
  • Erk1/2
  • Neuroprotection
  • NgR
  • P75
  • Stroke
  • TrkB


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