Specific rescue by ortho-hydroxy atorvastatin of cortical GABAergic neurons from previous oxygen/glucose deprivation: role of pCREB

Verónica Guirao, Octavi Martí-Sistac, Núria DeGregorio-Rocasolano, Jovita Ponce, Antoni Dávalos, Teresa Gasull

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5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 International Society for Neurochemistry The statin atorvastatin (ATV) given as a post-treatment has been reported beneficial in stroke, although the mechanisms involved are not well understood so far. Here, we investigated in vitro the effect of post-treatment with ATV and its main bioactive metabolite ortho-hydroxy ATV (o-ATV) on neuroprotection after oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD), and the role of the pro-survival cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB). Post-OGD treatment of primary cultures of rat cortical neurons with o-ATV, but not ATV, provided neuroprotection to a specific subset of cortical neurons that were large and positive for glutamic acid decarboxylase (large-GAD(+) neurons, GABAergic). Significantly, only these GABAergic neurons showed an increase in phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) early after neuronal cultures were treated post-OGD with o-ATV. We found that o-ATV, but not ATV, increased the neuronal uptake of glutamate from the medium; this provides a rationale for the specific effect of o-ATV on pCREB in large-GABAergic neurons, which have a higher ratio of synaptic (pCREB-promoting) vs extrasynaptic (pCREB-reducing) N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NMDAR) than that of small-non-GABAergic neurons. When we pharmacologically increased pCREB levels post-OGD in non-GABAergic neurons, through the selective activation of synaptic NMDAR, we observed as well long-lasting neuronal survival. We propose that the statin metabolite o-ATV given post-OGD boosts the intrinsic pro-survival factor pCREB in large-GABAergic cortical neurons in vitro, this contributing to protect them from OGD. (Figure presented.).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-374
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • GABAergic neurons
  • cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB)
  • neuroprotection
  • ortho-hydroxy atorvastatin
  • oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD)
  • synaptic NMDA receptors


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