Scientific reports

Tiagabine Protects Dopaminergic Neurons against Neurotoxins by Inhibiting Microglial Activation.

PMID 26499517


Microglial activation and inflammation are associated with progressive neuronal apoptosis in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, has recently been shown to play an inhibitory role in the immune system. Tiagabine, a piperidine derivative, enhances GABAergic transmission by inhibiting GABA transporter 1 (GAT 1). In the present study, we found that tiagabine pretreatment attenuated microglial activation, provided partial protection to the nigrostriatal axis and improved motor deficits in a methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD. The protective function of tiagabine was abolished in GAT 1 knockout mice that were challenged with MPTP. In an alternative PD model, induced by intranigral infusion of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), microglial suppression and subsequent neuroprotective effects of tiagabine were demonstrated. Furthermore, the LPS-induced inflammatory activation of BV-2 microglial cells and the toxicity of conditioned medium toward SH-SY5Y cells were inhibited by pretreatment with GABAergic drugs. The attenuation of the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and the inhibition of the generation of inflammatory mediators were the underlying mechanisms. Our results suggest that tiagabine acts as a brake for nigrostriatal microglial activation and that it might be a novel therapeutic approach for PD.

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