Endocrinology Journal Article

Neuroprotective Effects of rhGH

March 08, 2021
 

Susan Jung, Klara Terörde, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Regina Trollmann
Endocrinology, Volume 162, Issue 3, March 2021, bqab008
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqab008

Abstract

Perinatal hypoxia severely disrupts cerebral metabolic and maturational programs beyond apoptotic cell death. Antiapoptotic treatments such as erythropoietin are suggested to improve outcomes in hypoxic brain injury; however, the results are controversial. We analyzed the neuroprotective effects of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) on regenerative mechanisms in the hypoxic developing mouse brain in comparison to controls. Using an established model of neonatal acute hypoxia (8% O2, 6 hours), P7 mice were treated intraperitoneally with rhGH (4000 µg/kg) 0, 12, and 24 hours after hypoxic exposure. After a regeneration period of 48 hours, expression of hypoxia-inducible neurotrophic factors (erythropoietin [EPO], vascular endothelial growth factor A [VEGF-A], insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 [IGF-1/-2], IGF binding proteins) and proinflammatory markers was analyzed. In vitro experiments were performed using primary mouse cortical neurons (E14, DIV6). rhGH increased neuronal gene expression of EPO, IGF-1, and VEGF (P < .05) in vitro and diminished apoptosis of hypoxic neurons in a dose-dependent manner. In the developing brain, rhGH treatment led to a notable reduction of apoptosis in the subventricular zone and hippocampus (P < .05), abolished hypoxia-induced downregulation of IGF-1/IGF-2 expression (P < .05), and led to a significant accumulation of endogenous EPO protein and anti-inflammatory effects through modulation of interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor α signaling as well as upregulation of cerebral phosphorylated extracellularly regulated kinase 1/2 levels (ERK1/2). Indicating stabilizing effects on the blood-brain barrier (BBB), rhGH significantly modified cerebrovascular occludin expression. Thus, we conclude that rhGH mediates neuroprotective effects by the activation of endogenous neurotrophic growth factors and BBB stabilization. In addition, the modification of ERK1/2 pathways is involved in neuroprotective actions of rhGH. The present study adds further evidence that pharmacologic activation of neurotrophic growth factors may be a promising target for neonatal neuroprotection.

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