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Neural Regen Res. 2019 May;14(5):834-840. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.249231.

Postnatal calpeptin treatment causes hippocampal neurodevelopmental defects in neonatal rats.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Xin'an Medicine, Ministry of Education, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei, Anhui Province, China.
2
School of Pharmacy, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei, Anhui Province, China.

Abstract

Our previous studies showed that the early use of calpain inhibitors reduces calpain activity in multiple brain regions, and that postnatal treatment with calpeptin may lead to cerebellar motor dysfunction. However, it remains unclear whether postnatal calpeptin application affects hippocampus-related behaviors. In this study, Sprague-Dawley rats were purchased from the Animal Center of Anhui Medical University of China. For the experiments in the adult stage, rats were intraperitoneally injected with calpeptin, 2 mg/kg, once a day, on postnatal days 7-14. Then on postnatal day 60, the Morris water maze test was used to evaluate spatial learning and memory abilities. The open field test was carried out to assess anxiety-like activities. Phalloidin staining was performed to observe synaptic morphology in the hippocampus. Immunohistochemistry was used to count the number of NeuN-positive cells in the hippocampal CA1 region. DiI was applied to label dendritic spines. Calpeptin administration impaired spatial memory, caused anxiety-like behavior in adulthood, reduced the number and area of apical dendritic spines, and decreased actin polymerization in the hippocampus, but did not affect the number of NeuN-positive cells in the hippocampal CA1 region. For the neonatal experiments, neonatal rats were intraperitoneally injected with calpeptin, 2 mg/kg, on postnatal days 7 and 8. Western blot assay was performed to analyze the protein levels of Akt, Erk, p-Akt, p-Erk1/2, Erk1/2, SCOP, PTEN, mTOR, p-mTOR, CREB and p-CREB in the hippocampus. SCOP expression was increased, and the phosphorylation levels of Akt, mTOR and CREB were reduced in the hippocampus. These findings show that calpeptin administration after birth affects synaptic development in neonatal rats by inhibiting the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, thereby perturbing hippocampal function. Therefore, calpeptin administration after birth is a risk factor for neurodevelopmental defects.

KEYWORDS:

AKT; SCOP; calpeptin; hippocampus; learning and memory; mTOR; nerve regeneration; neural regeneration; postnatal; spine development

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