Heliyon (Feb 2021)

Noopept; a nootropic dipeptide, modulates persistent inflammation by effecting spinal microglia dependent Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) and pro-BDNF expression throughout apoptotic process

  • Mona Taghizadeh,
  • Nader Maghsoudi,
  • Homa Manaheji,
  • Valery Akparov,
  • Mansoureh Baniasadi,
  • Mola Mohammadi,
  • Samira Danyali,
  • Rasoul Ghasemi,
  • Jalal Zaringhalam

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 2
p. e06219


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There are largely unknown associations between changes in pain behavior responses during persistent peripheral inflammation and spinal cell alteration such as apoptosis. Some evidence suggests that microglia and microglia related mediators play notable roles in induction and maintenance of central nervous system pathologies and inflammatory pain. By considering those relationships and microglia related nootrophic factors, such as the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in CNS, we attempted to assess the relationship between microglia dependent BDNF and its precursor with pain behavior through spinal cell apoptosis as well as the effect of Noopept on this relationship. Persistent peripheral inflammation was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) on day 0. Thermal hyperalgesia, paw edema, microglial activity, microglia dependent BDNF, pro-BDNF expression, and apoptosis were assessed in different experimental groups by confirmed behavioral and molecular methods on days 0, 7, and 21 of the study. Our findings revealed hyperalgesia and spinal cell apoptosis significantly increased during the acute phase of CFA-induced inflammation but was then followed by a decrement in the chronic phase of the study. Aligned with these variations in spinal microglial activity, microglia dependent BDNF significantly increased during the acute phase of CFA-induced inflammation. Our results also indicated that daily administration of Noopept (during 21 days of the study) not only caused a significant decrease in hyperalgesia and microglia dependent BDNF expression but also changed the apoptosis process in relation to microglia activity alteration. It appears that the administration of Noopept can decrease spinal cell apoptosis and hyperalgesia during CFA-induced inflammation due to its direct effects on microglial activity and microglia dependent BDNF and pro-BDNF expression.