The involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) or neuropsychosis has been reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and considered a major cause of long-standing functional impairment and mortality. However, little is known in the improvement of the brain abnormality in SLE.To investigate the effect and mechanism of cystamine on brain in SLE, NZB/W F1 mice were used as the animal model. Gel zymography, caspase-3 activity assay and Western blots were performed to elucidate the effect of cystamine. Significant reduction of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-9/MMP-2 ratio and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) expression was detected in brain of NZB/W F1 mice treated with cystamine as compared to control group. Significant increase of heat-shock protein (HSP)-70 and HSP27 was detected in brain of NZB/W F1 mice treated with cystamine as compared to control group. Additionally, significant reduction of mitochondrial dependent apoptosis was observed in brain of NZB/W F1 mice treated with cystamine as compared to control group by increasing BCL-2 and reducing caspase-9, Bad, and Apaf-1 expression. Moreover, increased phosphorylated p65 (NF-kappa B) protein was observed in brain of NZB/W F1 mice treated with cystamine as compared to control group. These experimental results firstly demonstrated the beneficial effects of cystamine on brain in NZB/W F1 mice and suggested the therapeutic potential in patients with neuropsychiatric SLE (NP-SLE). (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY 591 (1-3): 307-314