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Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Jul 18;7(7):e1174. doi: 10.1038/tp.2017.121.

Arginine vasopressin ameliorates spatial learning impairments in chronic cerebral hypoperfusion via V1a receptor and autophagy signaling partially.

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School of Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Bioactive Materials, Nankai University, Tianjin, China.


Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) is a major factor contributing to neurological disorders and cognitive decline. Autophagy activation is believed to provide both beneficial and detrimental roles during hypoxic/ischemic cellular injury. Although arginine vasopressin (AVP) has been strongly involved in many behaviors, especially in learning and memory, the effects of AVP on CCH and their molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, to investigate whether there was neuroprotective effects of AVP on CCH through V1a receptor (an AVP receptor) signaling, permanent bilateral carotid arteries occlusion (two vessel occlusion, 2VO) was used to establish a rat model of CCH, and hypertonic saline (5.3%) was injected intraperitoneally to induce the secretion of AVP. Results showed that hypertonic saline effectively alleviated spatial learning and memory deficit, enhanced synaptic plasticity of CA3-CA1 hippocampal synapses, upregulated N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 2B (NR2B) and postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95) surface expressions, reduced oxidative stress and increased Nissl bodies in 2VO model rats. These phenomena were significantly decreased by V1a receptor antagonist SR49059. Interestingly, hypertonic saline also upregulated autophagy in the hippocampus of 2VO rats partly through V1a receptor. These findings imply that AVP has a beneficial role for the treatment of cognitive impairments partly through V1a receptor signaling in CCH, which is possibly related to improving synaptic plasticity by promoting NR2B and PSD-95 externalization and by enhancing autophagy.

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