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DCG-IV but not other group-II metabotropic receptor agonists induces microglial BDNF mRNA expression in the rat striatum. Correlation with neuronal injury

, : DCG-IV but not other group-II metabotropic receptor agonists induces microglial BDNF mRNA expression in the rat striatum. Correlation with neuronal injury. Neuroscience 113(4): 857-869, 10 September

We have previously described a neuroprotective action of (2S,2'R,3'R)-2-(2'3'-dicarboxycyclopropyl)glycine (DCG-IV), an agonist for group-II metabotropic receptors, on dopaminergic nerve terminals against the degeneration induced by 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). This effect was accompanied by an up-regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression in the rat striatum. We have now analyzed the phenotypic nature of the BDNF mRNA-expressing cells in response to intrastriatal injection of DCG-IV. Dual in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry revealed that microglial cells but not astrocytes were responsible for this induction. Subsequent analysis demonstrated that this effect was accompanied by striking loss of striatal glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) mRNA and massive appearance of internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, a hallmark of apoptosis. A dose-response study demonstrated that doses of DCG-IV as low as 5 nmol was very toxic in terms GAD mRNA and apoptosis. 0.5 nmol of DCG-IV did not induce toxicity at all in terms of GAD mRNA and apoptosis. Activation of group-II metabotropic receptors in striatum with N-Acetyl-Asp-Glu (NAAG; a mGlu3 agonist) and (2R,4R)-4-aminopyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylate (a mGlu2 and mGlu3 agonist) did not induce neither loss of GAD mRNA nor appearance of apoptosis (doses up to 20 nmol). In additional experiments, NAAG, in contrast to DCG-IV, failed to protect the striatal dopaminergic system against the degeneration induced by MPP+ as studied by microdialysis. Finally, we studied the mechanism by which DCG-IV is highly toxic. For that, selective antagonists of either metabotropic--(R,S)-alpha-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine and LY 341495--or ionotropic (N-methyl-D-aspartate, NMDA)--DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (AP-5) glutamate receptors --were co-administered with DCG-IV. Only AP-5 highly protected the striatum against the degeneration induced by DCG-IV. Since DCG-IV also activates the NMDA receptor at concentrations higher than 3 microM, it is conceivable that a intrastriatal concentration equal or higher than 3 microM after a single striatal injection of 5-20 nmol of DCG-IV. Our findings suggest that much caution must be exerted when testing the numerous neuroprotective effects ascribed to group-II metabotropic receptor activation, in particular when using DCG-IV. We conclude that the neuroprotectant capability of a given compound on a specific system does not exclude the possibility of inducing toxicity on a different one.


PMID: 12182892

DOI: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00232-4

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