The neuropeptide PACAP (pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide) and its receptors are widely expressed in the nervous system including the retina. PACAP has well-known neuroprotective effects in neuronal cultures in vitro and against different insults in vivo. Recently, we have shown that PACAP1-38 is neuroprotective against monosodium glutamate (MSG)-induced retinal degeneration. Studying the molecular mechanisms of this protection has revealed that PACAP1-38 stimulates antiapoptotic mechanisms such as phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and inhibits pro-apoptotic signaling molecules such as JNK1/2, p38MAPK, caspase-3 and the translocation of mitochondrial cytochrome c and apoptosis inducing factor in glutamate-treated retinas in vivo. In the present study we investigated the effects of PACAP1-38 on a further signal transduction pathway possibly involved in the protective effect of intravitreal PACAP1-38 administration against apoptotic retinal degeneration induced by neonatal MSG treatment. The focus of the present study was the protein kinase A (PKA)-Bad-14-3-3 transduction pathway. In vivo MSG treatment led to a reduction in the levels of anti-apoptotic molecules (phospho-PKA phospho-Bad, Bcl-xL and 14-3-3 proteins) in the retina. Co-treatment with PACAP1-38 counteracted these effects: the level of phospho-PKA, phospho-Bad, Bcl-xL and 14-3-3 were increased. All effects of PACAP1-38 were inhibited by the PACAP antagonist PACAP6-38. In summary, our results show that PACAP1-38 activates the PKA-Bad-14-3-3 pathway which is inhibited by MSG treatment. Our results also provide new insights into the signaling mechanisms possibly involved in the PACAP-mediated anti-apoptotic effects.
- Protein kinase A
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