Insulin inhibits AMPA-induced neuronal damage via stimulation of protein kinase B (Akt)
We designed a series of experiments to explore the neuroprotective effects of insulin. Insulin significantly inhibited the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA)-induced neuronal cell damage as evidenced by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium-bromide (MTT) assay. However, insulin had little affect on the AMPA-induced glial cell damage. To determine whether insulin inhibits AMPA-induced excitotoxicity, we performed grease-gap recording assays using rat brain slices. In these experiments, insulin also significantly inhibited AMPA-induced depolarization. Flow cytometry and DNA fragmentation assays showed that insulin inhibits AMPA-induced apoptosis and DNA fragmentation, respectively. Insulin stimulated protein kinase B (Akt) activity, whereas AMPA pretreatment did not alter the insulin-stimulated Akt activity. On the contrary, insulin blocked induction of SAPK/JNK, which AMPA stimulated. Taken together, these results suggest that insulin exerts neuroprotective effects by inhibiting AMPA-induced excitotoxicity and apoptosis, possibly by activating Akt and blocking SAPK/JNK.