Cilostazol was developed as a selective inhibitor of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase 3 (PDE3). The antiplatelet and vasodilator properties of cilostazol have been extensively characterized and considered to contribute to the variety of clinical effects such as intermittent claudication and recurrent stroke. In this review, the novel action mechanism (s) of cilostazol are overviewed with the focus on the action of cilostazol in in vitro and in vivo studies as a maxi-K channel opener targeting anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. Under treatment with cilostazol (10 mg/kg intravenously or 30 mg/kg orally), a significant reduction in cerebral infarct area was evident in rats subjected to ischemia/reperfusion. Increase in cyclic AMP and decrease in TNF-α levels were identified in the ipsilateral cortex under treatment with cilostazol accompanied by decreased Bax formation and cytochrome c release with increased Bcl-2 production in the penumbral area as well as in the in vitro human umbilical endothelial cells. Cilostazol suppressed TNF- α-induced decrease in viability of SK-N-SH (human neuroblastoma) cells and HCN-1A (human cortical neuron) cells in association with decrease in PTEN phosphorylation and increase in Akt/CREB phosphorylation with suppression of DNA fragmentation, all of which were antagonized by iberiotoxin, a maxi-K+ channel blocker. Further, cilostazol prevented TNF-α-induced PTEN phosphorylation and apoptotic cell death via increased CK2 phosphorylation in the SK-N-SH cells. Cilostazol increased K+ current in SK-N-SH cells by opening the maxi-K channels. Thus, it was suggested that the action of cilostazol to promote cell survival was ascribed to the maxi-K channel opening-coupled upregulation of CK2 phosphorylation and downregulation of PTEN phosphorylation with resultant increased phosphorylation of Akt and CREB. These in vitro data were confirmed in the in vivo results of rats subjected to focal transient ischemic damage.
Keywords: Cilostazol, PTEN phosphorylation, CREB, Akt, neuronal protection, Bcl-2
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