Although angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) is recognized as an endothelial growth factor, its presence in brain following an ischemic event suggests a role in the evolution of neuronal damage. Using primary neuronal cultures, we showed that neurons express Ang-1 and possess the functional angiopoietin-receptor Tie-2, which is phosphorylated in the presence of Ang-1. We further investigated in vitro whether Ang-1 could protect neurons against either excitotoxic necrosis or apoptosis induced by serum deprivation (SD). A neuroprotective effect for Ang-1 was detected exclusively in the apoptotic paradigm. Treatment of cells with the phosphatidyl-inositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitor, LY294002, inhibited Ang-1-induced phosphorylation of Akt, restored the cleavage of the effector caspase-3, and reduced the protective effect of Ang-1 against SD-induced toxicity. These findings suggest that Ang-1 has a neuroprotective effect against apoptotic stress and that this effect is dependent on the PI3-K/Akt pathway and inhibition of caspase-3 cleavage. This study provides evidence that Ang-1 is not just angiogenic but also neuroprotective. The understanding of neuroprotective mechanisms induced by Ang-1 may promote strategies based on the pleiotropic effects of angiogenic factors. Such approaches could be useful for the treatment of brain diseases in which both neuronal death and angiogenesis are involved.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology|
|State||Published - Mar 2003|