Palmitoylethanolamide Blunts Amyloid-β42-Induced Astrocyte Activation and Improves Neuronal Survival in Primary Mouse Cortical Astrocyte-Neuron Co-Cultures.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2018 ;61(1):389-399. PMID: 29154284
BACKGROUND: Based on the pivotal role of astrocytes in brain homeostasis and the strong metabolic cooperation existing between neurons and astrocytes, it has been suggested that astrocytic dysfunctions might cause and/or contribute to neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative processes. Therapeutic approaches aimed at both neuroprotection and neuroinflammation reduction may prove particularly effective in slowing the progression of these diseases. The endogenous lipid mediator palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) displayed neuroprotective and anti(neuro)inflammatory properties, and demonstrated interesting potential as a novel treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
OBJECTIVE AND METHODS: We firstly evaluated whether astrocytes could participate in regulating the Aβ42-induced neuronal damage, by using primary mouse astrocytes cell cultures and mixed astrocytes-neurons cultures. Furthermore, the possible protective effects of PEA against Aβ42-induced neuronal toxicity have also been investigated by evaluating neuronal viability, apoptosis, and morphometric parameters.
RESULTS: The presence of astrocytes pre-exposed to Aβ42 (0.5μM; 24 h) induced a reduction of neuronal viability in primary mouse astrocytes-neurons co-cultures. Furthermore, under these experimental conditions, an increase in the number of neuronal apoptotic nuclei and a decrease in the number of MAP-2 positive neurons were observed. Finally, astrocytic Aβ42 pre-exposure induced an increase in the number of neurite aggregations/100μm as compared to control (i.e., untreated) astrocytes-neurons co-cultures. These effects were not observed in neurons cultured in the presence of astrocytes pre-exposed to PEA (0.1μM), applied 1 h before andmaintained during Aβ42 treatment.
CONCLUSION: Astrocytes contribute to Aβ42-induced neurotoxicity and PEA, by blunting Aβ42-induced astrocyte activation, improved neuronal survival in mouse astrocyte-neuron co-cultures.