Journal article

Biliverdin Reductase-A correlates with inducible nitric oxide synthasein in atorvastatin treated aged canine brain

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive impairment and neuropathology. Recent preclinical and epidemiological studies proposed statins as a possible therapeutic drug for Alzheimer's disease, but the exact mechanisms of action are still unknown. Biliverdin reductase-A is a pleiotropic enzyme involved in cellular stress responses. It not only transforms biliverdin-IX alpha into the antioxidant bilirubin-IX alpha but its serine/threonine/tyrosine kinase activity is able to modulate cell signaling networks. We previously reported the beneficial effects of atorvastatin treatment on biliverdin reductase-A and heme oxygenase-1 in the brains of a well characterized pre-clinical model of Alzheimer's disease, aged beagles, together with observed improvement in cognition. Here we extend our knowledge of the effects of atorvastatin on inducible nitric oxide synthase in parietal cortex, cerebellum and liver of the same animals. We demonstrated that atorvastatin treatment (80 mg/day for 14.5 months) to aged beagles selectively increased inducible nitric oxide synthase in the parietal cortex but not in the cerebellum. In contrast, inducible nitric oxide synthase protein levels were significantly decreased in the liver. Significant positive correlations were found between biliverdin reductase-A and inducible nitric oxide synthase as well as heme oxygenase-1 protein levels in the parietal cortex. The opposite was observed in the liver. Inducible nitric oxide synthase up-regulation in the parietal cortex was positively associated with improved biliverdin reductase-A functions, whereas the oxidative-induced impairment of biliverdin reductase-A in the liver negatively affected inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, thus suggesting a role for biliverdin reductase-A in atorvastatin-dependent inducible nitric oxide synthase changes. Interestingly, increased inducible nitric oxide synthase levels in the parietal cortex were not associated with higher oxidative/nitrosative stress levels. We hypothesize that biliverdin reductase-A-dependent inducible nitric oxide synthase regulation strongly contributes to the cognitive improvement observed following atorvastatin treatment.


Related material


EPFL authors