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Intracerebroventricular administration of an endothelin ETB receptor agonist increases expressions of GDNF and BDNF in rat brain


: Dr Akemichi Baba, Laboratory of Molecular Neuropharmacology, as above.


Endothelins (ETs) are suggested to be involved in functional alterations of astrocytes after brain injury, including proliferation, hypertrophy and production of neurotrophic factors. In this study, effects of Ala1,3,11,15-endothelin-1 (Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1), an ETB receptor selective agonist, on neurotrophic factor production were examined in rat brain. A continuous intracerebroventricular administration of Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1 (500 pmol/day for 7 days) increased the numbers of GFAP- and vimentin-positive astrocytes in the hippocampus, caudate putamen and cerebrum. Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1 did not induce neuronal degeneration and activation of microglia/macrophage in these brain regions. The intracerebroventricular administration of Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1 for 7 days caused two- to three-fold increases in glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factors (GDNF) mRNA in the hippocampus and cerebrum. The mRNA levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) in caudate putamen were increased by Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1. Expressions of nerve growth factor (NGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) mRNA in these regions were not largely affected by Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1, except cerebral NGF mRNA level was increased. The Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1-induced increases in GDNF and BDNF mRNA levels were accompanied by increases in immunoreactive GDNF and BDNF. Immunohistochemical observations showed that GFAP-positive astrocytes expressed GDNF and BDNF in the brain regions of Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1-infused rats. In cultured rat astrocytes, Ala1,3,11,15-ET-1 (100 nm) increased mRNA levels of GDNF and BDNF. These results suggest that activation of brain ETB receptors induced GDNF and BDNF expression in astrocytes.