Research Article

Pyrroloquinoline quinone rescues hippocampal neurons from glutamate-induced cell death through activation of Nrf2 and up-regulation of antioxidant genes

Published: August 16, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (3) : 2652-2664 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2012.June.27.3
Cite this Article:
(2012). Pyrroloquinoline quinone rescues hippocampal neurons from glutamate-induced cell death through activation of Nrf2 and up-regulation of antioxidant genes. Genet. Mol. Res. 11(3): gmr1892. https://doi.org/10.4238/2012.June.27.3
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Abstract

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) has been shown to protect primary cultured hippocampal neurons from glutamate-induced cell apoptosis by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activating phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling. We investigated the downstream pathways of PI3K/Akt involved in PQQ protection of glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons. Western blot analysis indicated that PQQ treatment following glutamate stimulation triggers phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β, accompanied by maintenance of Akt activation. Immunostaining and quantitative RT-PCR revealed that PQQ treatment promotes nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), and up-regulates mRNA expression of Nrf2 and the antioxidant enzyme genes, heme oxygenase-1 and glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic in glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons; this is a process dependent on the PI3K/Akt pathway, as evidenced by blocking experiments with PI3K inhibitors. In addition, increased ROS production and decreased glutathione levels in glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons were found to be reduced by PQQ treatment. Collectively, our findings suggest that PQQ exerts neuroprotective activity, possibly through PI3K/Akt-dependent activation of Nrf2 and up-regulation of antioxidant genes. However, the ability of PQQ to scavenge ROS was not totally regulated by PI3K/Akt signaling; possibly it is governed by other mechanisms.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) has been shown to protect primary cultured hippocampal neurons from glutamate-induced cell apoptosis by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activating phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling. We investigated the downstream pathways of PI3K/Akt involved in PQQ protection of glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons. Western blot analysis indicated that PQQ treatment following glutamate stimulation triggers phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β, accompanied by maintenance of Akt activation. Immunostaining and quantitative RT-PCR revealed that PQQ treatment promotes nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), and up-regulates mRNA expression of Nrf2 and the antioxidant enzyme genes, heme oxygenase-1 and glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic in glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons; this is a process dependent on the PI3K/Akt pathway, as evidenced by blocking experiments with PI3K inhibitors. In addition, increased ROS production and decreased glutathione levels in glutamate-injured hippocampal neurons were found to be reduced by PQQ treatment. Collectively, our findings suggest that PQQ exerts neuroprotective activity, possibly through PI3K/Akt-dependent activation of Nrf2 and up-regulation of antioxidant genes. However, the ability of PQQ to scavenge ROS was not totally regulated by PI3K/Akt signaling; possibly it is governed by other mechanisms.

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