Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and its transporters and receptors are involved in a wide array of digestive functions. In particular, 5-HT4 receptors are known to mediate intestinal peristalsis and recent data in experimental animals have shown their role in neuronal maintenance and neurogenesis. This study has been designed to test whether prucalopride, a well-known full 5-HT4 agonist, exerts protective effects on neurons, including enteric neurons, exposed to oxidative stress challenge. Sulforhodamine B assay was used to determine the survival of SH-SY5Y cells, human enteric neurospheres, and ex vivo submucosal neurons following H2O2 exposure in the presence or absence of prucalopride (1 nM). Specificity of 5-HT4-mediated neuroprotection was established by experiments performed in the presence of GR113808, a 5-HT4 antagonist. Prucalopride exhibited a significant neuroprotective effect. SH-SY5Y cells pretreated with prucalopride were protected from the injury elicited by H2O2 as shown by increased survival (73.5 ± 0.1% of neuronal survival vs. 33.3 ± 0.1%, respectively; P < 0.0001) and a significant reduction of proapoptotic caspase-3 and caspase-9 activation in all neurons tested. The protective effect of prucalopride was reversed by the specific 5-HT4 antagonist GR113808. Prucalopride promotes a significant neuroprotection against oxidative-mediated proapoptotic mechanisms. Our data pave the way for novel therapeutic implications of full 5-HT4 agonists in gut dysmotility characterized by neuronal degeneration, which go beyond the well-known enterokinetic effect.
- 5-HT4 full agonist
- enterokinetic drug
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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