Aβ-induced astrogliosis can worsen the eziopathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) by the release of proinflammatory and pro-oxidant mediators. Activated glial cells may release also pro-angiogenic molecules. The role of angiogenesis in AD is still controversial: although angiogenesis brings oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue, it may also exacerbate reactive gliosis. Moreover, by altering blood-brain barrier permeability pro-angiogenic mediators promote passage of inflammatory/immune-competent cells into the brain, thereby exacerbating gliosis. The release of proangiogenic factors during astrogliosis may thus be a key-step in controlling AD progression. The endogenous fatty acid amide, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), is a pleiotropic mediator exerting anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and antiangiogenic effects in several in vitro and in vivo models of chronic-degenerative disease. In this study, we investigated the effects of PEA in AD angiogenesis and neuroinflammation by using conditioned medium from untreated and Aβ-treated C6 rat astroglioma cells and HUVEC human endothelial cells. PEA (10-8-10-6 M) concentration-dependently reduced expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic markers in Aβ (1 μg/mL)-stimulated C6 cells. Moreover, culture medium from PEA-treated C6 cells reduced HUVEC cell proliferation as compared to cells treated with conditioned medium from Aβ-treated C6 cells. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that PEA treatment inhibited nuclear levels of mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (the main pro-angiogenic pathway) and cytoplasmic vascular endothelial growth factor in HUVEC cells receiving C6 conditioned medium. Finally, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha inhibitor GW6471, added to Aβ-treated C6 cells blocked all PEA effects in this model, suggesting that PEA acts through a proliferator-activated receptor alpha-dependent mechanism on astroglial cells. Collectively, these data support the potential therapeutic utility of PEA in AD.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, astrogliosis, palmitoylethanolamide.