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Neuropharmacology. 2004 Nov;47(6):892-903.

Neuroprotective effects of the N-terminal tripeptide of insulin-like growth factor-1, glycine-proline-glutamate (GPE) following intravenous infusion in hypoxic-ischemic adult rats.

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The Liggins Institute, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, 2-6 Park Avenue, Grafton, Auckland, New Zealand.


The N-terminal tripeptide of insulin-like growth factor-1, GPE is neuroprotective when given intracerebroventricularly 2 h after hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain injury in rats. We have now examined whether GPE can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert neuroprotective actions following intravenous administration. Following a single bolus intravenous injection, GPE was rapidly metabolized and cleared from the circulation. The short half-life (<2 min) in blood was subsequently associated with modest and inconsistent neuroprotection. In contrast, potent neuroprotection of GPE was consistently observed in all brain regions examined following 4 h intravenous infusion (12 mg/kg). The neuroprotective effects of GPE after infusion showed a broad effective dose range (1.2-120 mg/kg) and an extended window of treatment to 7-11 h after injury. The central penetration of GPE after intravenous infusion was injury-dependent. GPE also improved long-term somatofunction with a comparable neuronal outcome. GPE reduced both caspase-3-dependent and -independent apoptosis in the hippocampus. Treatment with GPE also inhibited microglial proliferation and prevented the injury-induced loss of astrocytes. In conclusion, the neuroprotective actions of GPE infusion were global, robust and displayed a broad effective dose range and treatment window. GPE's activity included the prevention of neuronal apoptosis, promotion of astrocyte survival and inhibition of microglial proliferation. With injury specific central penetration, GPE has considerable promise as a systemic neuroprotective treatment after acute encephalopathies.

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