Brain research

Neuroprotective effects of the N-terminal tripeptide of IGF-1, glycine-proline-glutamate, in the immature rat brain after hypoxic-ischemic injury.

PMID 11730700


Insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has an important role in brain development and is strongly expressed during recovery after a hypoxic-ischemic injury. Some of its central actions could be mediated through the N-terminal tripeptide fragment of IGF-1: Gly-Pro-Glu (GPE). The neuroprotective properties of GPE given after a moderate injury in the developing rat brain were evaluated and the binding sites of [(3)H]GPE characterised by autoradiography. After right unilateral injury, GPE or vehicle (V) was injected in the right lateral ventricle (i.c.v.) or in the peritoneal cavity (i.p.) of 21-day-old rats. The percentage of surviving neurons in CA1-2 of the hippocampus was higher in the animals treated with 30 microg of GPE i.c.v. (V: 7.7+/-4.9%, GPE: 26.4+/-7.5%, P=0.02) and 300 microg i.p. (V: 30.2+/-9.1%, GPE: 68.8+/-10.6%, P=0.02) than in animals receiving vehicle. I.p. injection of 300 microg of GPE (V: 78.4+/-7.5%, GPE: 88.4+/-3.2%, P=0.04) was also neuroprotective in the lateral cortex. I.c.v. injection of [(3)H]GPE suggested binding to glial cells in the white matter tracts, the cortex and striatum as opposed to neurons. Although the precise mode of action of GPE is unknown, this study suggests that local administration of GPE is neuroprotective after brain HI injury via glial cells. In addition, systemic administration of GPE showed a more widespread neuroprotective effect. GPE may represent a complementary pathway for central and systemic IGF-1's antiapoptotic effects.

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Gly-Pro-Glu, ≥98% (HPLC)