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Drugs targeting intermediate filaments can improve neurosupportive properties of astrocytes.

Journal article
Authors Yolanda de Pablo
Meng Chen
Elin Möllerström
Marcela Pekna
Milos Pekny
Published in Brain Research Bulletin
Volume 136
Pages 130-138
ISSN 0361-9230
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Pages 130-138
Language en
Subject categories Neuroscience, Neurobiology


In response to central nervous system (CNS) injury, astrocytes upregulate intermediate filament (nanofilament) proteins GFAP and vimentin. Whereas the intermediate filament upregulation in astrocytes is important for neuroprotection in the acute phase of injury, it might inhibit the regenerative processes later on. Thus, timely modulation of the astrocyte intermediate filaments was proposed as a strategy to promote brain repair. We used clomipramine, epoxomicin and withaferin A, drugs reported to decrease the expression of GFAP, and assessed their effect on neurosupportive properties and resilience of astrocytes to oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD). Clomipramine decreased protein levels of GFAP, as well as vimentin and nestin, and did not affect astrocyte resilience to oxidative stress. Withaferin A sensitized astrocytes to OGD. Both clomipramine and epoxomicin promoted the attachment and survival of neurons co-cultured with astrocytes under standard culture conditions. Moreover, epoxomicin increased neurosupportive properties of astrocytes after OGD. Our data point to clomipramine and epoxomicin as potential candidates for astrocyte modulation to improve outcome after CNS injury.

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