Neuroprotection of the developing brain by systemic administration of vasoactive intestinal peptide derivatives

Pierre Gressens*, Leslie Besse, Patrick Robberecht, Illana Gozes, Mati Fridkin, Philippe Evrard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), a necrotic and often cystic lesion of the cerebral white matter occurring in very premature babies, is the leading cause of cerebral palsy in this population. Increased glutamate release and the excitotoxic cascade thus triggered may be critical factors in the development of PVL. The glutamatergic analog ibotenate injected intracerebrally into newborn mice produces white matter cysts that mimic human PVL. Concomitant injection of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a trophic factor, protects the white matter against excitotoxic lesions. The goal of the present study was to assess the protective properties of systemically injected VIP analogs against ibotenate-induced excitotoxic white matter lesions in newborn mice. VIP analogs were selected on the basis of their low susceptibility to endopeptidases and their potential ability to cross biological membranes. RO-25-1553, a long-lasting cyclic VIP analog, and stearyl-norleucine-VIP, a fatty derivative of VIP, reduced ibotenate-induced white matter cysts by up to 87% and 84%, respectively, when injected i.p. immediately after ibotenate. By comparison, i.p. coadministration of VIP and ibotenate was not protective against the excitotoxic insult. Furthermore, RO- 25-1553 and stearyl-norleucine-VIP still induced significant neuroprotection of the developing white matter when injected systemically 8 and 12 h, respectively, after ibotenate, establishing these peptides as therapeutic agents in this murine model. VIP analogs may have therapeutic potential in human premature babies at high risk for PVL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1213
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume288
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999

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