NAAG peptidase inhibitor reduces acute neuronal degeneration and astrocyte damage following lateral fluid percussion TBI in rats

Chunlong Zhong, Xueren Zhao, Jayaprakash Sarva, Alan Kozikowski, Joseph H. Neale, Bruce G Lyeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) produces a rapid and excessive elevation in extracellular glutamate associated with excitotoxicity and secondary brain pathology. The peptide neurotransmitter N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) suppresses glutamate transmission through selective activation of presynaptk Group II metaboiropic glutamate receptor subtype 3 (mGluR3). Thus, inhibition of NAAG peptidase activity and the prolong presence of synaptic NAAG were hypothesized to have significant potential for cellular protection following TBI. In the present study, a novel NAAG peptidase inhibitor, ZJ-43, was used in four different doses (0, 50, 100, or 150 mg/kg). Each dose was repeatedly administered i.p. (n = 5/group) by multiple injections at three times (0 time, 8 h, 16 h) after moderate lateral fluid percussion TBI in the rat. An additional group was co-administered ZJ-43 (150 mg/kg) and the Group II mGluR antagonist, LY341495 (1 mg/kg), which was predicted to abolish any protective effects of ZJ-43. Rats were euthanized at 24 h after TBI, and brains were processed with a selective marker for degenerating neurons (Fluoro-Jade B) and a marker for astrocytes (GFAP). Ipsilateral neuronal degeneration and bilateral astrocyte loss in the CA2/3 regions of the hippocampus were quantified using stereological techniques. Compared with vehicle, ZJ-43 significantly reduced the number of the ipsilateral degenerating neurons (p < 0.01) with the greatest neuroprotection at the 50 mg/kg dose. Moreover, LY341495 successfully abolished the protective effects of ZJ-43. 50 mg/kg of ZJ-43 also significantly reduced the ipsilateral astrocyte loss (p < 0.05). We conclude that the NAAG peptidase inhibitor ZJ-43 is a potential novel strategy to reduce both neuronal and astrocyte damage associated with the glutamate escitotosicity after TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Fluid percussion
  • Glutamate
  • Hippocampus
  • Metabotropic glutamate receptor
  • N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG)
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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