Research Papers: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):
Azilsartan ameliorates apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons and rescues characteristic parkinsonian behaviors in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease
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Qing Gao1,*, Zhou Ou1,*, Teng Jiang1,*, You-Yong Tian1, Jun-Shan Zhou1, Liang Wu1, Jian-Quan Shi1 and Ying-Dong Zhang1
1 Department of Neurology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, PR China
* These authors as co-first authors
Ying-Dong Zhang, email:
Keywords: renin-angiotensin system; angiotensin II; Parkinson’s disease; apoptosis; azilsartan; Gerotarget
Received: January 02, 2017 Accepted: February 08, 2017 Published: February 25, 2017
Loss of dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra (SN) is a pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD), which leads to the onset of motor symptoms. Previously, our in vitro studies revealed that Angiotensin II (Ang II) induced apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons through its type 1 receptor (AT1R), but these findings needed to be confirmed via animal experiments. Here, using a rotenone-induced rat model of PD, we observed an overactivation of Ang II/AT1R axis in the SN, since Ang II level and AT1R expression were markedly increased. Furthermore, we provided in vivo evidence that Ang II directly elicited apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons via activation of AT1R in the SN of rats. More importantly, we showed for the first time that oral administration of azilsartan, a newly developed AT1R blocker approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for hypertension treatment, rescued the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons and relieved the characteristic parkinsonian symptoms in PD rats. These results support the application of AT1R blockers in PD therapy, and strengthen the notion that many therapeutic agents may possess pleiotropic action in addition to their main applications.
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