Article

Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 395-404

First online:

Davunetide (NAP) Protects the Retina Against Early Diabetic Injury by Reducing Apoptotic Death

  • Soraya ScuderiAffiliated withDepartment of Bio-Medical Sciences, Section of Anatomy and Histology, University of Catania
  • , Agata Grazia D’AmicoAffiliated withDepartment of Bio-Medical Sciences, Section of Anatomy and Histology, University of Catania
  • , Alessandro CastorinaAffiliated withDepartment of Bio-Medical Sciences, Section of Anatomy and Histology, University of Catania
  • , Concetta FedericoAffiliated withDepartment of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Section of Animal Biology, University of Catania
  • , Giuseppina MarrazzoAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine, Section of Pharmacology and Biochemistry, University of Catania
  • , Filippo DragoAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine, Section of Pharmacology and Biochemistry, University of Catania
  • , Claudio BucoloAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine, Section of Pharmacology and Biochemistry, University of Catania
  • , Velia D’AgataAffiliated withDepartment of Bio-Medical Sciences, Section of Anatomy and Histology, University of Catania Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Davunetide (NAP) is an eight amino acid peptide that has been shown to provide potent neuroprotection. In the present study, we investigated the neuroprotective effect of NAP in diabetic retinopathy using an in vivo streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic model. A single intraocular injection of NAP (100 μg/mL) or vehicle was administered 1 week after STZ injection. Three weeks after diabetes induction, we assessed the retinal expression and distribution of apoptosis markers, cleaved caspase-3, and Bcl2, by Western blot and immunofluorescent analysis. Furthermore, we evaluated the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) and/or phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt pathways by measuring the protein levels of p-ERK and p-AKT with or without NAP treatment. Results demonstrated that NAP treatment reduced apoptotic event in diabetic retina, and it restored cleaved caspase-3 expression levels in the retina of STZ-injected rats as well as the decreased Bcl2. NAP treatment improved cellular survival through the activation of the MAPK/ERK pathway. Taken together, these findings suggested that NAP might be useful to treat retinal degenerative diseases.

Keywords

Davunetide NAP Diabetic retinopathy Streptozotocin Retina Apoptosis MAPK/ERK pathway