Carnosine and L-arginine attenuate the downregulation of brain monoamines and gamma aminobutyric acid; reverse apoptosis and upregulate the expression of angiogenic factors in a model of hemic hypoxia in rats.
Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2019 Oct 22. Epub 2019 Oct 22. PMID: 31641819
PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the preventive effect of L-arginine (ARG) and carnosine (CAR) on hypoxia-induced neurotoxicity in rats. The impact on neuro-inflammation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and the brain levels of monoamines and GABA were investigated.
METHODS: Rats were divided into the following: normal control, hypoxia model induced by sodium nitrite (75 mg/kg s.c), and hypoxic rats pre-treated with CAR (250 mg/kg), ARG (200 mg/kg), and their combination.
RESULTS: Data revealed that hypoxia induced significant elevation of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and its receptor reflecting the stimulation of angiogenesis. Hypoxia also resulted in increased inflammatory mediators-including nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). In addition, hypoxia initiates cerebral apoptosis as revealed by increased caspase-3 and BAX with reduced Bcl-2. These changes were associated with reduced brain levels of GABA and monoamines including noradrenaline (NADR), dopamine (DOP), and serotonin (SER). Pre-treatment with ARG and/or CAR significantly mitigated the neural changes induced by hypoxia and attenuated the elevated levels of NF-κB, TNF-α, IL-6, caspase-3, and BAX, while ameliorated the reduced levels of Bcl-2, NADR, DOP, SER, and GABA, with the best improvement observed with the combination. Further elevation of the angiogenic markers was observed indicating their role in boosting oxygen delivery to brain.
CONCLUSION: CAR, ARG, and, importantly, their combination could effectively protect against hypoxia-induced neurotoxicity, via their angiogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic properties in addition to reversing the effect on GABA and monoamines.