Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, in which progressive neuron loss, mainly in the hippocampus, is observed. The critical events in the pathogenesis of AD are associated with accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides in the brain. Deposits of Aβ initiate a neurotoxic "cascade" leading to apoptotic death of neurons. Aim of this study was to assess a putative neuroprotective effects of two nootropic drugs: piracetam (PIR) and levetiracetam (LEV) on Aβ-injured hippocampal neurons in culture.
Methods: Primary cultures of rat's hippocampal neurons at 7 day in vitro were exposed to Aβ(25-35) in the presence or absence of nootropics in varied concentrations. Flow cytometry with Annexin V/PI staining was used for counting and establishing neurons as viable, necrotic or apoptotic. Additionally, release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) to the culture medium, as a marker of cell death, was evaluated.
Results: Aβ(25-35) caused concentration-dependent death of about one third number of hippocampal neurons, mainly through an apoptotic pathway. In drugs-containing cultures, number of neurons injured with 20 μM Aβ(25-35) was about one-third lesser for PIR and almost two-fold lesser for LEV. When 40 μM Aβ(25-35) was used, only LEV exerted beneficial neuroprotective action, while PIR was ineffective.
Conclusions: Our results suggest the protective potential of both studied nootropics against Aβ-induced death of cultured hippocampal neurons with more powerful neuroprotective effects of LEV.
Keywords: Hippocampal culture; Neuroprotection; Nootropic drugs; β-Amyloid.
Copyright © 2014 Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier Urban & Partner Sp. z o.o. All rights reserved.