Diabetes increases the risk and worsens the progression of cognitive impairment. The hippocampus is an important domain for learning and memory. We previously showed that endothelin-1 (ET-1) reduced diabetes-induced inflammation in hippocampal neurons, suggesting a neuroprotective effect. Given that neurons and endothelial cells within the neurovascular unit depend on each other for proper function, we investigated the effect of ET-1 on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) synthesis, a key neurotrophin and prosurvival factor, in neuronal (HT22 hippocampal neurons) and brain microvascular endothelial (BMEC-5i) cells under normal and diabetes-mimicking (high glucose plus palmitate) conditions. Cells were treated with exogenous ET-1 or ET receptor antagonists including ETB receptor selective antagonist BQ788 (1 μM) or dual-receptor antagonist bosentan (10 μM). Mature (m)BDNF, proBDNF and caspase-3 levels were measured by Western blotting. Diabetic conditions reduced the prosurvival mBDNF/proBDNF ratio in both HT22 and BMEC-5i cells. Addition of exogenous ET-1 had no effect on the BDNF system in HT22 cells in diabetic conditions. Both HT22 and BMEC-5i cells had an increase in the mBDNF/proBDNF ratio when grown in diabetes-simulating conditions in the presence of endothelin receptor inhibition. These data suggest that blockade of ET-1 may provide neuroprotection to hippocampal cells through the modulation of the BDNF system.
- Mature BDNF
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