Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) was shown to be essential for embryogenesis and brain development while NAP, an active motif of ADNP, is neuroprotective in a broad range of neurodegenerative disorders. In the present study, we examined the protective potential of ADNP/NAP in a mouse model of excitotoxic brain lesion mimicking brain damage associated with cerebral palsy. We demonstrated that NAP had a potent neuroprotective effect against ibotenate-induced excitotoxic damage in the cortical plate and the white matter of P5 mice, and moderate against brain lesions of P0 mice. In contrast, endogenous ADNP appears not to be involved in the response to excitotoxic challenge in the studied model. Our findings further show that NAP reduced the number of apoptotic neurons through activation of PI-3K/Akt pathway in the cortical plate or both PI-3K/Akt and MAPK/MEK1 kinases in the white matter. In addition, NAP prevented ibotenate-induced loss of pre-oligodendrocytes without affecting the number of astrocytes or activated microglia around the site of injection. These findings indicate that protective actions of NAP are mediated by triggering transduction pathways that are crucial for neuronal and oligodendroglial survival, thus, NAP might be a promising therapeutic agent for treating developing brain damage.
© 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.