A previous study reported that scabronine G methyl ester (SG-ME) potentially enhances the in vitro secretion of neurotrophic factors such as nerve growth factor via the protein kinase C (PKC)-ζ pathway. However, it remains unknown whether SG-ME can improve cognitive dysfunctions in olfactory bulbectomized (OBX) mice. To address this question, we evaluated SG-ME-treated and untreated OBX mice in a passive avoidance test. We also investigated potential effects of SG-ME on several parameters: cell proliferation and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation in the hippocampal dentate gyrus by immunohistochemistry, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the hippocampus by Western blotting, p-CREB levels in the hippocampus by MapAnalyzer, and long-term potentiation (LTP) by electrophysiology. On the 14th day after surgery OBX mice showed altered passive avoidance and decreases in both cell proliferation and long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, while these changes were reversed by SG-ME (20 μg/mouse) 24 h after the treatment. The improvement in memory deficits was prevented when SG-ME was co-administeredwith either zeta inhibitory peptide (PKC-ζ inhibitor), anti-BDNF antibody, ANA-12 (TrkB antagonist), U0126 (MEK inhibitor), H-89 (PKA inhibitor), LY294002 (PI3K inhibitor) or KN-93 (CaMKII inhibitor). We found that SG-ME enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor and p-CREB levels in the hippocampus while p-CREB was localized in neurons, but not in astrocytes nor microglial cells. These findings revealed the potential of SG-ME in improving memory impairments by enhancing cell proliferation and LTP via activation of the BDNF/CREB signaling pathway in neurons.
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