Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleiotropic neuropeptide, with known antiapoptotic functions. Our previous in vitro study has demonstrated the ameliorative role of PACAP-38 in chicken hair cells under oxidative stress conditions, but its effects on living hair cells is now yet known. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate in vivo the protective role of PACAP-38 in hair cells found in zebrafish (Danio rerio) sense organs—neuromasts. To induce oxidative stress the 5-day postfertilization (dpf) zebrafish larvae were exposed to 1.5 mM H2O2 for 15 min or 1 h. This resulted in an increase in caspase-3 and p-38 MAPK level in the hair cells as well as in an impairment of the larvae basic behavior. To investigate the ameliorative role of PACAP-38, the larvae were incubated with a mixture of 1.5 mM H2O2 and 100 nM PACAP-38 following 1 h preincubation with 100 nM PACAP-38 only. PACAP-38 abilities to prevent hair cells from apoptosis were investigated. Whole-mount immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy analyses revealed that PACAP-38 treatment decreased the cleaved caspase-3 level in the hair cells, but had no influence on p-38 MAPK. The analyses of basic locomotor activity supported the protective role of PACAP-38 by demonstrating the improvement of the fish behavior after PACAP-38 treatment. In summary, our in vivo findings demonstrate that PACAP-38 protects zebrafish hair cells from oxidative stress by attenuating oxidative stress-induced apoptosis.
- Hydrogen peroxide
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