All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.

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

Author(s): Q. Zhang, M. Ding, X.R. Gao and F. Ding

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 glutathionelevels 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.