Elucidation of the effect of brain cortex tetrapeptide Cortagen on gene expression in mouse heart by microarray.

OBJECTIVES: Aging is associated with significant alterations in gene expression in numerous organs and tissues. Anti-aging therapy with peptide bioregulators holds much promise for the correction of age-associated changes, making a screening for their molecular targets in tissues an important question of modern gerontology. The synthetic tetrapeptide Cortagen (Ala-Glu-Asp-Pro) was obtained by directed synthesis based on amino acid analysis of natural brain cortex peptide preparation Cortexin. In humans, Cortagen demonstrated a pronounced therapeutic effect upon the structural and functional posttraumatic recovery of peripheral nerve tissue. Importantly, other effects were also observed in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular parameters.

DESIGN: Based on these latter observations, we hypothesized that acute course of Cortagen treatment, large-scale transcriptome analysis, and identification of transcripts with altered expression in heart would facilitate our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this peptide biological effects. We therefore analyzed the expression of 15,247 transcripts in the heart of female 6-months CBA mice receiving injections of Cortagen for 5 consecutive days was studied by cDNA microarrays.

RESULTS: Comparative analysis of cDNA microarray hybridisation with heart samples from control and experimental group revealed 234 clones (1,53% of the total number of clones) with significant changes of expression that matched 110 known genes belonging to various functional categories. Maximum up- and down-regulation was +5.42 and -2.86, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Intercomparison of changes in cardiac expression profile induced by synthetic peptides (Cortagen, Vilon, Epitalon) and pineal peptide hormone melatonin revealed both common and specific effects of Cortagen upon gene expression in heart.

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