Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Paeoniflorin exerts neuroprotective effects by modulating the M1/M2 subset polarization of microglia/macrophages in the hippocampal CA1 region of vascular dementia rats via cannabinoid receptor 2.

Abstract Source:

Chin Med. 2018 ;13:14. Epub 2018 Mar 20. PMID: 29560022

Abstract Author(s):

Xian-Qin Luo, Ao Li, Xue Yang, Xiao Xiao, Rong Hu, Tian-Wen Wang, Xiao-Yun Dou, Da-Jian Yang, Zhi Dong

Article Affiliation:

Xian-Qin Luo


Background: Cerebral hypoperfusion is a pivotal risk factor for vascular dementia (VD), for which effective therapy remains inadequate. Persistent inflammatory responses and excessive chemotaxis of microglia/macrophages in the brain may accelerate the progression of VD. Endocannabinoids are involved in neuronal protection against inflammation-induced neuronal injury. Cannabinoids acting at cannabinoid receptor 2 (CBR) can decrease inflammation. Based on the identification of paeoniflorin (PF) as a CBR agonist, we investigated the neuroprotective and microglia/macrophages M1 to M2 polarization promoting effects of PF in a permanent four-vessel occlusion rat model.

Methods: One week after surgery, PF was intraperitoneally administered at a dose of 40 mg/kg once a day for 28 successive days. The effects of PF on memory deficit were investigated by a Morris water maze test, and the effects of PF on hippocampal neuronal damage were evaluated by light microscope and electron microscope. The mRNA and protein expression levels of key molecules related to the M1/M2 polarization of microglia/macrophages were assessed by RT-qPCR and Western blotting, respectively.

Results: Administration of PF could significantly attenuate cerebral hypoperfusion-induced impairment of learning and memory and reduce the morphological and ultrastructural changes in the hippocampal CA1 region of rats. Moreover, PF promoted an M1 to M2 phenotype transition in microglia/macrophages in the hippocampus of rats. In addition to its inhibitory property against proinflammatory M1 mediator expression, such as IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and NO, PF dramatically up-regulated expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-β1. Importantly, CBR antagonist AM630 abolished these beneficial effects produced by PF on learning, memory and hippocampus structure in rats, as well as the polarization of microglia/macrophages to the M2 phenotype. Additionally, PF treatment significantly inhibited cerebral hypoperfusion-induced mTOR/NF-κB proinflammatory pathway and enhanced PI3K/Akt anti-inflammatory pathway. Effects of PF on these signaling pathways were effectively attenuated when rats were co-treated with PF and AM630, indicating that the mTOR/NF-κB and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways were involved in the PF effects through CBR activation.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrated PF exerts its neuroprotective effect and shifts the inflammatory milieu toward resolution by modulation of microglia/macrophage polarization via CBR activation.

Study Type : Animal Study

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