Visitor counter, Heat Map, Conversion tracking, Search Rank

Int J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Blockade of N-acetylaspartylglutamate peptidases: a novel protective strategy for brain injuries and neurological disorders.


The peptide neurotransmitter N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) is reported to suppress glutamate release mainly through selective activation of presynaptic Group II metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 3 (mGluR3). Therefore, strategies of inhibition of NAAG peptidases and subsequent NAAG hydrolysis to elevate levels of NAAG could reduce glutamate release under pathological conditions and be neuroprotective by attenuating excitotoxic cell injury. A series of potent inhibitors of NAAG peptidases has been synthesized and demonstrated efficacy in experimental models of ischemic-hypoxic brain injury, traumatic brain injury, inflammatory pain, diabetic neuropathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and phencyclidine-induced schizophrenia-like behaviors. The excessive glutamatergic transmission has been implicated in all of these neurological disorders. Thus, blockade of NAAG peptidases may augment an endogenous protective mechanism and afford neuroprotection in the brain. This review aims to summarize and provide insight into the current understanding of the novel neuroprotective strategy based on limiting glutamate excitotoxicity for a wide variety of brain injuries and neurological disorders.



J Neurosci Res. 2013 Dec;91(12):1609-17. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23276. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Ascorbate prevents cell death from prolonged exposure to glutamate in an in vitro model of human dopaminergic neurons.


Ascorbate (vitamin C) is a nonenzymatic antioxidant highly concentrated in the brain. In addition to mediating redox balance, ascorbate is linked to glutamate neurotransmission in the striatum, where it renders neuroprotection against excessive glutamate stimulation. Oxidative stress and glutamatergic overactivity are key biochemical features accompanying the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra that characterizes Parkinson's disease (PD). At present, it is not clear whether antiglutamate agents and ascorbate might be neuroprotective agents for PD. Thus, we tested whether ascorbate can prevent cell death from prolonged exposure to glutamate using dopaminergic neurons of human origin. To this purpose, dopamine-like neurons were obtained by differentiation of SH-SY5Y cells and then cultured for 4 days without antioxidant (antiaging) protection to evaluate glutamate toxicity and ascorbate protection as a model system of potential factors contributing to dopaminergic neuron death in PD. Glutamate dose dependently induced toxicity in dopaminergic cells largely by the stimulation of AMPA and metabotropic receptors and to a lesser extent by N-methyl-D-aspartate and kainate receptors. At relatively physiological levels of extracellular concentration, ascorbate protected cells against glutamate excitotoxicity. This neuroprotection apparently relies on the inhibition of oxidative stress, because ascorbate prevented the pro-oxidant action of the scavenging molecule quercetin, which occurred over the course of prolonged exposure, as is also seen with glutamate. Our findings show the relevance of ascorbate as a neuroprotective agent and emphasize an often underappreciated role of oxidative stress in glutamate excitotoxicity. Occurrence of a glutamate-ascorbate link in dopaminergic neurons may explain previous contradictions regarding their putative role in PD.