The role of Akt/FoxO3a in the protective effect of venlafaxine against corticosterone-induced cell death in PC12 cells

Wang, Haitao; Zhou, Xuanhe; Huang, Jianchu; Mu, Nan; Guo, Zeli; Wen, Qiang; Wang, Rikang; Chen, Shaorui; Feng, Zhong-Ping; Zheng, Wenhua
July 2013
Psychopharmacology;Jul2013, Vol. 228 Issue 1, p129
Academic Journal
Rationale: Antidepressants could exert neuroprotective effects against various insults and the antidepressant-like effect may result from its neuroprotective effects. The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B/Forkhead box O3 (PI3K/Akt/FoxO3a) pathway is a key signaling pathway in mediating cell survival. However, no information is available regarding the interaction of FoxO3a and antidepressants. Objectives: PC12 cells treated with corticosterone were used as a model to study the protective effect of venlafaxine and underlying mechanisms. Methods: Methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) assay, Hoechst staining, and the observation of FoxO3a subcellular location were used to study the protective effect of venlafaxine against cell damage caused by corticosterone. Pretreatments with various pathway inhibitors were used to investigate the possible pathways involved in the protection of venlafaxine. The phosphorylation of Akt and FoxO3a was analyzed by Western blot. Results: Corticosterone decreased the phosphorylation of Akt and FoxO3a and led to the nuclear localization of FoxO3a and the apoptosis of PC12 cells. Venlafaxine concentration-dependently protected PC12 cells against corticosterone. The protective effect of venlafaxine was reversed by LY294002 and wortmannin, two PI3K inhibitors, and Akt inhibitor VIII, whereas mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPK kinase) inhibitor PD98059 and the p38 MAPK inhibitor PD160316 had no effect. Western blot analyses showed that venlafaxine induced the phosphorylation of Akt and FoxO3a by the PI3K/Akt pathway and reversed the reduction of the phosphorylated Akt and FoxO3a, and the nuclear translocation of Foxo3a induced by corticosterone. Conclusions: Venlafaxine protects PC12 cells against corticosterone-induced cell death by modulating the activity of the PI3K/Akt/FoxO3a pathway.


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