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Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Feb;50:201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.10.020. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

High t-PA release by neonate brain microvascular endothelial cells under glutamate exposure affects neuronal fate.

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Region INSERM Team, ERI28 NeoVasc, Laboratory of Microvascular Endothelium and Neonate Brain Lesions, University of Rouen, Institute for Research and Innovation in Biomedicine, Rouen, France.


Glutamate excitotoxicity is a consolidated hypothesis in neonatal brain injuries and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) participates in the processes through proteolytic and receptor mediated effects. In brain microvascular endothelial cell (nBMEC) cultures from neonates, t-PA content and release upon glutamate are higher than in adult (aBMECs) cultures. Owing to the variety of t-PA substrates and receptor targets, the study was aimed at determining the putative roles of endothelial t-PA in the neonatal brain parenchyma under glutamate challenge. Basal t-PA release was 4.4 fold higher in nBMECs vs aBMECs and glutamate was 20 fold more potent to allow Evans blue vascular permeability in neonate microvessels indicating that, under noxious glutamate (50 μM) exposure, high amounts of endothelial t-PA stores may be mobilized and may access the nervous parenchyma. Culture media from nBMECS or aBMECs challenged by excitotoxic glutamate were applied to neuron cultures at DIV 11. While media from adult cells did not evoke more LDH release in neuronal cultures that under glutamate alone, media from nBMECs enhanced 2.2 fold LDH release. This effect was not observed with media from t-PA(-/-) nBMECs and was inhibited by hr-PAI-1. In Cortical slices from 10 day-old mice, hrt-PA associated with glutamate evoked neuronal necrosis in deeper (more mature) layers, an effect reversed by NMDA receptor GluN1 amino-terminal domain antibody capable of inhibiting t-PA potentiation of the receptor. In superficial layers (less mature), hrt-PA alone inhibited apoptosis, an effect reversed by the EGF receptor antagonist AG1478. Applied to immature neurons in culture (DIV5), media from nBMEC rescued 85.1% of neurons from cell death induced by serum deprivation. In cortical slices, the anti-apoptotic effect of t-PA fitted with age dependent localization of less mature neurons. These data suggest that in the immature brain, propensity of vessels to release high amounts of t-PA may not only impact vascular integrity but may also influence neuronal fate, via regulation of apoptosis in immature cells and, as in adult by potentiating glutamate toxicity in mature neurons. The data point out putative implication of microvessels in glutamate neurotoxicity in the development, and justify research towards vessel oriented neuroprotection strategies in neonates.

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