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Exp Cell Res. 2010 Jul 1;316(11):1773-83. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Neuroprotective effect of the endogenous neural peptide apelin in cultured mouse cortical neurons.

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  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China.


The adipocytokine apelin and its G protein-coupled APJ receptor were initially isolated from a bovine stomach and have been detected in the brain and cardiovascular system. Recent studies suggest that apelin can protect cardiomyocytes from ischemic injury. Here, we investigated the effect of apelin on apoptosis in mouse primary cultures of cortical neurons. Exposure of the cortical cultures to a serum-free medium for 24 h induced nuclear fragmentation and apoptotic death; apelin-13 (1.0-5.0 nM) markedly prevented the neuronal apoptosis. Apelin neuroprotective effects were mediated by multiple mechanisms. Apelin-13 reduced serum deprivation (SD)-induced ROS generation, mitochondria depolarization, cytochrome c release and activation of caspase-3. Apelin-13 prevented SD-induced changes in phosphorylation status of Akt and ERK1/2. In addition, apelin-13 attenuated NMDA-induced intracellular Ca(2+) accumulation. These results indicate that apelin is an endogenous neuroprotective adipocytokine that may block apoptosis and excitotoxic death via cellular and molecular mechanisms. It is suggested that apelins may be further explored as a potential neuroprotective reagent for ischemia-induced brain damage.

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