Post-injury treatment with 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, a TrkB receptor agonist, protects against experimental traumatic brain injury via PI3K/Akt signaling.
ABSTRACT: Tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) signaling is critical for promoting neuronal survival following brain damage. The present study investigated the effects and underlying mechanisms of TrkB activation by the TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mice subjected to controlled cortical impact received intraperitoneal 7,8-DHF or vehicle injection 10 min post-injury and subsequently daily for 3 days. Behavioral studies, histology analysis and brain water content assessment were performed. Levels of TrkB signaling-related molecules and apoptosis-related proteins were analyzed. The protective effect of 7,8-DHF was also investigated in primary neurons subjected to stretch injury. Treatment with 20 mg/kg 7,8-DHF attenuated functional deficits and brain damage up to post-injury day 28. 7,8-DHF also reduced brain edema, neuronal death, and apoptosis at day 4. These changes were accompanied by a significant decrease in cleaved caspase-3 and increase in Bcl-2/Bax ratio. 7,8-DHF enhanced phosphorylation of TrkB, Akt (Ser473/Thr308), and Bad at day 4, but had no effect on Erk 1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, 7,8-DHF increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and promoted cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) activation. This beneficial effect was attenuated by inhibition of TrkB or PI3K/Akt. 7,8-DHF also promoted survival and reduced apoptosis in cortical neurons subjected to stretch injury. Remarkably, delayed administration of 7,8-DHF at 3 h post-injury reduced brain tissue damage. Our study demonstrates that activation of TrkB signaling by 7,8-DHF protects against TBI via the PI3K/Akt but not Erk pathway, and this protective effect may be amplified via the PI3K/Akt-CREB cascades.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is followed by a state of metabolic dysfunction, affecting the ability of neurons to use energy and support brain plasticity; there is no effective therapy to counteract the TBI pathology. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has an exceptional capacity to support metabolism and plasticity, which highly contrasts with its poor pharmacological profile. We evaluated the action of a flavonoid derivative 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), a BDNF receptor (TrkB) agonist with the pharmacological profile congruent for potential human therapies. Treatment with 7,8-DHF (5mg/kg, ip, daily for 7 days) was effective to ameliorate the effects of TBI on plasticity markers (CREB phosphorylation, GAP-43 and syntaxin-3 levels) and memory function in Barnes maze test. Treatment with 7,8-DHF restored the decrease in protein and phenotypic expression of TrkB phosphorylation after TBI. In turn, intrahippocampal injections of K252a, a TrkB antagonist, counteracted the 7,8-DHF induced TrkB signaling activation and memory improvement in TBI, suggesting the pivotal role of TrkB signaling in cognitive performance after brain injury. A potential action of 7,8-DHF on cell energy homeostasis was corroborated by the normalization in levels of PGC-1?, TFAM, COII, AMPK and SIRT1 in animals subjected to TBI. Results suggest a potential mechanism by which 7,8-DHF counteracts TBI pathology via activation of the TrkB receptor and engaging the interplay between cell energy management and synaptic plasticity. Since metabolic dysfunction is an important risk factor for the development of neurological and psychiatric disorders, these results set a precedent for the therapeutic use of 7,8-DHF in a larger context.
Project description:7,8-Dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) acts as a TrkB receptor-specific agonist. It mimics the physiological actions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and demonstrates remarkable therapeutic efficacy in animal models of various neurological diseases. Nonetheless, its in vivo pharmacokinetic profiles and metabolism remain unclear. Here we report that 7,8-DHF and its O-methylated metabolites distribute in mouse brain after oral administration. Both hydroxy groups can be mono-methylated, and the mono-methylated metabolites activate TrkB in vitro and in vivo. Blocking methylation, using COMT inhibitors, diminishes the agonistic effect of TrkB activation by 7,8-DHF or 4'-dimethylamino-7,8-DHF, supporting the contribution of the methylated metabolite to TrkB activation in mouse brain. Moreover, we have synthesized several methylated metabolite derivatives, and they also potently activate the TrkB receptor and reduce immobility in both forced swim test and tail suspension test, indicating that these methylated metabolites may possess antidepressant activity. Hence, our data demonstrate that 7,8-DHF is orally bioavailable and can penetrate the brain-blood barrier. The O-methylated metabolites are implicated in TrkB receptor activation in the brain.
Project description:Previous studies in rodents have shown that after a moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a controlled cortical impact (CCI) device, the adult-born immature granular neurons in the dentate gyrus are the most vulnerable cell type in the hippocampus. There is no effective approach for preventing immature neuron death after TBI. We found that tyrosine-related kinase B (TrkB), a receptor of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), is highly expressed in adult-born immature neurons. We determined that the small molecule imitating BDNF, 7, 8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), increased phosphorylation of TrkB in immature neurons both in vitro and in vivo. Pretreatment with DHF protected immature neurons from excitotoxicity-mediated death in vitro, and systemic administration of DHF before moderate CCI injury reduced the death of adult-born immature neurons in the hippocampus 24 hours after injury. By contrast, inhibiting BDNF signaling using the TrkB antagonist ANA12 attenuated the neuroprotective effects of DHF. These data indicate that DHF may be a promising chemical compound that promotes immature neuron survival after TBI through activation of the BDNF signaling pathway.
Project description:Despite increasing awareness of the many important roles played by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activation of TrkB, a fuller understanding of this system and the use of potential TrkB-acting therapeutic agents has been limited by the lack of any identified small-molecule TrkB agonists that fully mimic the actions of BDNF at brain TrkB receptors in vivo. However, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) has recently been identified as a specific TrkB agonist that crosses the blood-brain barrier after oral or intraperitoneal administration. The authors combined pharmacological, biochemical, and behavioral approaches in a preclinical study examining the role of 7,8-DHF in modulating emotional memory in mice.The authors first examined the ability of systemic 7,8-DHF to activate TrkB receptors in the amygdala. They then examined the effects of systemic 7,8-DHF on acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear, using specific and well-characterized BDNF-dependent learning paradigms in several models using naive mice and mice with prior traumatic stress exposure.Amygdala TrkB receptors, which have previously been shown to be required for emotional learning, were activated by systemic 7,8-DHF (at 5 mg/kg i.p.). 7,8-DHF enhanced both the acquisition of fear and its extinction. It also appeared to rescue an extinction deficit in mice with a history of immobilization stress.These data suggest that 7,8-DHF may be an excellent agent for use in understanding the effects of TrkB activation in learning and memory paradigms and may be attractive for use in reversing learning and extinction deficits associated with psychopathology.
Project description:Chronic activation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor TrkB is a potential method to prevent development of obesity, but the short half-life and nonbioavailable nature of BDNF hampers validation of the hypothesis. We report here that activation of muscular TrkB by the BDNF mimetic, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), is sufficient to protect the development of diet-induced obesity in female mice. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we found that 7,8-DHF treatment enhanced the expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in skeletal muscle, which resulted in increased systemic energy expenditure, reduced adiposity, and improved insulin sensitivity in female mice fed a high-fat diet. This antiobesity activity of 7,8-DHF is muscular TrkB-dependent as 7,8-DHF cannot mitigate diet-induced obesity in female muscle-specific TrkB knockout mice. Hence, our data reveal that chronic activation of muscular TrkB is useful in alleviating obesity and its complications.
Project description:The selective vulnerability of hippocampal area CA1 to ischemia-induced injury is a well-known phenomenon. However, the cellular mechanisms that confer resistance to area CA3 against ischemic damage remain elusive. Here, we show that oxygen-glucose deprivation-reperfusion (OGD-RP), an in vitro model that mimic the pathological conditions of the ischemic stroke, increases the phosphorylation level of tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) in area CA3. Slices preincubated with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) exhibited reduced depression of the electrical activity triggered by OGD-RP. Consistently, blockade of TrkB suppressed the resistance of area CA3 to OGD-RP. The protective effect of TrkB activation was limited to area CA3, as OGD-RP caused permanent suppression of CA1 responses. At the cellular level, TrkB activation leads to phosphorylation of the accessory proteins SHC and Gab as well as the serine/threonine kinase Akt, members of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt (PI-3-K/Akt) pathway, a cascade involved in cell survival. Hence, acute slices pretreated with the Akt antagonist MK2206 in combination with BDNF lost the capability to resist the damage inflicted with OGD-RP. Consistently, with these results, CA3 pyramidal cells exhibited reduced propidium iodide uptake and caspase-3 activity in slices pretreated with BDNF and exposed to OGD-RP. We propose that PI-3-K/Akt downstream activation mediated by TrkB represents an endogenous mechanism responsible for the resistance of area CA3 to ischemic damage.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the moderate level of impact induces massive cell death and results in extensive dendrite degeneration in the brain, leading to persistent cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunction. Our previous reports have shown that adult-born immature granular neurons in the dentate gyrus are the most vulnerable cell type in the hippocampus after receiving a moderate TBI with a controlled cortical impact (CCI) device. There is no effective approach to prevent immature neuron death or degeneration following TBI. Our recent study found that pretreatment of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), a small molecule imitating brain-derived neurotrophic factor, protected immature neurons in the hippocampus from death following TBI. In the present study, we systemically treated moderate CCI-TBI mice or sham surgery mice with DHF once a day for 2 weeks via intraperitoneal injection, and then assessed the immature neurons in the hippocampus the 2nd day after the last DHF injection. We found that post-injury treatment of DHF for 2 weeks not only increased the number of adult-born immature neurons in the hippocampus, but also promoted their dendrite arborization in the injured brain following TBI. Thus, DHF may be a promising compound that can promote neurogenesis and enhance immature neuron development following TBI.
Project description:Brain radiotherapy is frequently used successfully to treat brain tumors. However, radiotherapy is often associated with declines in short-term and long-term memory, learning ability, and verbal fluency. We previously identified a downregulation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) following cranial irradiation in experimental animals. In the present study, we investigated whether targeting the BDNF high affinity receptor, tropomysin receptor kinase B (TrkB), could mitigate radiation-induced cognitive deficits. After irradiation, chronic treatment with a small molecule TrkB agonist, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF) in mice led to enhanced activation of TrkB and its downstream targets ERK and AKT, both important factors in neuronal development. DHF treatment significantly restored spatial, contextual, and working memory, and the positive effects persisted for at least 3months after completion of the treatment. Consistent with preservation of cognitive functions, chronic DHF treatment mitigated radiation-induced suppression of hippocampal neurogenesis. Spine density and major components of the excitatory synapses, including glutamate receptors and postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95), were also maintained at normal levels by DHF treatment after irradiation. Taken together, our results show that chronic treatment with DHF after irradiation significantly mitigates radiation-induced cognitive defects. This is achieved most likely by preservation of hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity.
Project description:The BDNF mimetic compound 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), a potent small molecular TrkB agonist, displays prominent therapeutic efficacy against Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, 7,8-DHF has only modest oral bioavailability and a moderate pharmacokinetic (PK) profile. To alleviate these preclinical obstacles, we used a prodrug strategy for elevating 7,8-DHF oral bioavailability and brain exposure, and found that the optimal prodrug R13 has favorable properties and dose-dependently reverses the cognitive defects in an AD mouse model. We synthesized a large number of 7,8-DHF derivatives via ester or carbamate group modification on the catechol ring in the parent compound. Using in vitro absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion assays, combined with in vivo PK studies, we identified a prodrug, R13, that prominently up-regulates 7,8-DHF PK profiles. Chronic oral administration of R13 activated TrkB signaling and prevented A? deposition in 5XFAD AD mice, inhibiting the pathological cleavage of APP and Tau by AEP. Moreover, R13 inhibited the loss of hippocampal synapses and ameliorated memory deficits in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that the prodrug R13 is an optimal therapeutic agent for treating AD.
Project description:7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is a TrkB receptor agonist, and treatment with this flavonoid derivative brings about an enhanced TrkB phosphorylation and promotes downstream cellular signalling. Flavonoids are also known to exert an inhibitory effect on the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) family of tyrosine kinase receptors. VEGFR2 is one of the important receptors involved in the regulation of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis and has also been implicated to exhibit various neuroprotective roles. Its upregulation and uncontrolled activity is associated with a range of pathological conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and various proliferative disorders. In this study, we investigated molecular interactions of 7,8-DHF and its derivatives with both the TrkB receptor as well as VEGFR2. Using a combination of molecular docking and computational mapping tools involving molecular dynamics approaches we have elucidated additional residues and binding energies involved in 7,8-DHF interactions with the TrkB Ig2 domain and VEGFR2. Our investigations have revealed for the first time that 7,8-DHF has dual biochemical action and its treatment may have divergent effects on the TrkB via its extracellular Ig2 domain and on the VEGFR2 receptor through the intracellular kinase domain. Contrary to its agonistic effects on the TrkB receptor, 7,8-DHF was found to downregulate VEGFR2 phosphorylation both in 661W photoreceptor cells and in retinal tissue.