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Anti-apoptotic actions of vasopressin in H32 neurons involve MAP kinase transactivation and Bad phosphorylation.

Chen J., Volpi S., Aguilera G.

Vasopressin (VP) secreted within the brain modulates neuronal function acting as a neurotransmitter. Based on the observation that VP prevented serum deprivation-induced cell death in the neuronal cell line, H32, which expresses endogenous V1 receptors, we tested the hypothesis that VP has anti-apoptotic properties. Flow cytometry experiments showed that 10 nM VP prevented serum deprivation-induced cell death and annexin V binding. Serum deprivation increased caspase-3 activity in a time and serum concentration dependent manner, and VP prevented these effects through interaction with receptors of V1 subtype. The signaling pathways mediating the anti-apoptotic effect of VP involve mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK), Ca(2+)/calmodulin dependent kinase (CaMK) and protein kinase C (PKC). Western blot analyses revealed time-dependent decreases of Bad phosphorylation and increases in cytosolic levels of cytochrome c following serum deprivation, effects which were prevented by 10 nM VP. These data demonstrate that activation of endogenous V1 VP receptors prevents serum deprivation-induced apoptosis, through phosphorylation-inactivation of the pro-apoptotic protein, Bad, and consequent decreases in cytosolic cytochrome c and caspase-3 activation. The data suggest that VP has anti-apoptotic activity in neurons and that VP may act as a neuroprotective agent in the brain.

Exp. Neurol. 211:529-538(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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