The neuropeptide PACAP (pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide) and its receptors are widely expressed in the nervous system and various other tissues. PACAP has well-known anti-apoptotic effects in neuronal cell lines. Recent data suggest that PACAP exerts anti-apoptotic effects also in non-neuronal cells. The peptide is present in the cardiovascular system, and has various distinct effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether PACAP is protective against in vitro ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis in cardiomyocytes. Cultured cardiomyocytes were exposed to 60 min ischemia followed by 120 min reperfusion. The addition of PACAP1-38 significantly increased cell viability and decreased the ratio of apoptotic cells as measured by MTT test and flow cytometry. PACAP induced the phosphorylation of Akt and protein kinase A. In the present study we also examined the possible involvement of Akt- and protein kinase A-induced phosphorylation and thus inactivation of Bad, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family. It was found that ischemia significantly decreased the levels of phosphorylated Bad, which was counteracted by PACAP. Furthermore, PACAP increased the levels of Bcl-xL and 14-3-3 protein, both of which promote cell survival, and decreased the apoptosis executor caspase-3 cleavage. All effects of PACAP1-38 were inhibited by the PACAP antagonist PACAP6-38. In summary, our results show that PACAP has protective effects against ischemia/reperfusion-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and provides new insights into the signaling mechanisms involved in the PACAP-mediated anti-apoptotic effects.
- Myocardial ischemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience