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Redox Biol. 2014 Jan 9;2:447-56. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2013.12.018. eCollection 2014.

Thioredoxin-mimetic peptide CB3 lowers MAPKinase activity in the Zucker rat brain.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904 Israel.
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Janssen Research & Development, LLC of Johnson and Johnson, Welsh and McKean Roads, Springhouse, PA 19477, USA.


Diabetes is a high risk factor for dementia. High glucose may be a risk factor for dementia even among persons without diabetes, and in transgenic animals it has been shown to cause a potentiation of indices that are pre-symptomatic of Alzheimer's disease. To further elucidate the underlying mechanisms linking inflammatory events elicited in the brain during oxidative stress and diabetes, we monitored the activation of mitogen-activated kinsase (MAPKs), c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAP kinases (p38(MAPK)), and extracellular activating kinsae1/2 (ERK1/2) and the anti-inflammatory effects of the thioredoxin mimetic (TxM) peptides, Ac-Cys-Pro-Cys-amide (CB3) and Ac-Cys-Gly-Pro-Cys-amide (CB4) in the brain of male leptin-receptor-deficient Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats and human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Daily i.p. injection of CB3 to ZDF rats inhibited the phosphorylation of JNK and p38(MAPK), and prevented the expression of thioredoxin-interacting-protein (TXNIP/TBP-2) in ZDF rat brain. Although plasma glucose/insulin remained high, CB3 also increased the phosphorylation of AMP-ribose activating kinase (AMPK) and inhibited p70(S6K) kinase in the brain. Both CB3 and CB4 reversed apoptosis induced by inhibiting thioredoxin reductase as monitored by decreasing caspase 3 cleavage and PARP dissociation in SH-SY5Y cells. The decrease in JNK and p38(MAPK) activity in the absence of a change in plasma glucose implies a decrease in oxidative or neuroinflammatory stress in the ZDF rat brain. CB3 not only attenuated MAPK phosphorylation and activated AMPK in the brain, but it also diminished apoptotic markers, most likely acting via the MAPK-AMPK-mTOR pathway. These results were correlated with CB3 and CB4 inhibiting inflammation progression and protection from oxidative stress induced apoptosis in human neuronal cells. We suggest that by attenuating neuro-inflammatory processes in the brain Trx1 mimetic peptides could become beneficial for preventing neurological disorders associated with diabetes.


AICAR, 5-amino-4-imidazole carboxamide riboside; AMPK; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; Ad-AMPK-CA, AMPK-constitutively active AMP-activated protein kinase mutants; CB3; CB3, NAc-Cys-Pro Cys-amide, TXM-CB3; Diabetes type 2; Inflammation; MAPK; Oxidative stress; Redox; TXNIP/TBP-2; TXNIP/TBP-2, thioredoxin-interacting protein; Thioredoxin mimetics; ZDF rat-model

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