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LXR and TSPO as new therapeutic targets to increase the levels of neuroactive steroids in the central nervous system of diabetic animals

AuthorsMitro, N.; Cermenati, G.; Giatti, S.; Abbiati, F.; Pesaresi, M.; Calabrese, D.; García-Segura, Luis M. ; Caruso, D.; Melcangi, R. C.
Issue Date2012
CitationNeurochemistry International 60: 616- 621 (2012)
AbstractNeuroactive steroid levels are decreased in the central nervous system (CNS) of streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic rats. In agreement, they exert protective effects in this experimental model, counteracting degenerative events occurring in the CNS. Therefore, an interesting therapeutic strategy could be to increase their levels directly in the CNS. In this study we have evaluated whether activation of translocator protein-18 kDa (TSPO) or liver X receptors (LXRs) may affect the levels of neuroactive steroids present in the CNS of diabetic and non-diabetic animals. We observed that the treatment with either Ro5-4864 (i.e., a ligand of TSPO) or with GW3965 (i.e., a ligand of LXRs) induced an increase of neuroactive steroids in the spinal cord, the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex of STZ-rats, but not in the CNS of non-pathological animals. Interestingly, the pattern of induction was different among the three CNS areas analyzed and between the two pharmacological tools. In particular, the activation of LXRs might represent a promising neuroprotective strategy, because the treatment with GW3965, at variance to Ro5-4864 treatment, did not induce significant changes in the plasma levels of neuroactive steroids. This suggests that activation of LXRs may selectively increase the CNS levels of neuroactive steroids avoiding possible endocrine side effects exerted by the systemic treatment with these molecules. Interestingly GW3965 treatment induced an increase of dihydroprogesterone in the spinal cord of diabetic animals in association with an increase of myelin basic protein expression. Thus we demonstrated that LXR activation was able to rescue CNS symptoms of diabetes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.02.025
issn: 0197-0186
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