Proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) expression levels are altered in several CNS disorders with these changes being proposed to either exacerbate or diminish the disease state depending on the cell type in which this occurs. Here we present data investigating the consequence of PAR-2 activation on kainate (KA)-induced neurotoxicity in organotypic hippocampal slices cultures (OHSC). Exposure of OHSC to the PAR-2 activators trypsin or Ser-Leu-Ile-Gly-Arg-Leu (SLIGRL) induced no neurotoxicity when applied alone but was neuroprotective against KA-induced neurotoxicity. SLIGRL-mediated neuroprotection involved astrocytic activation as the neuroprotective effect was abolished following OHSC pre-treatment with fluoroacetate. Moreover, co-application of either reparixin or LY341495, antagonists of the CXCR2 chemokine receptor and metabotropic glutamate receptors respectively, inhibited the SLIGRL-mediated neuroprotection. SLIGRL application inhibited both p38 MAPK and ERK activity in OHSC, but not the JNK 1/2 signalling pathway. Accordingly, the co-application of the p38 MAPK and ERK inhibitors SB203580 and UO126 reduced KA-induced cell death, mimicking PAR-2-mediated neuroprotection. These data indicate that PAR-2 activation is neuroprotective and involves astrocytic activation, gliotransmitter release, and the subsequent inhibition of MAPK signalling cascades, providing further evidence for PAR-2 as an interesting therapeutic target in certain CNS disorders.
- MAP kinase
- metabotropic glutamate receptor
- proteinase-activated receptor-2