Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.508, No.4, 1209-1214, 2019
The effect of glutamate-induced excitotoxicity on DNA methylation in astrocytes in a new in vitro neuron-astrocyte-endothelium co-culture system
Glutamate-induced excitotoxicity is a contributer to many neurological diseases. Astrocytes may represent a new target for treating glutamate-induced' excitotoxicity. However, the in vitro culture system that mimics the in vivo microenvironment is lacking. This study aimed to establish a new in vitro co-culture system including neurons, astrocytes, and endothelial cells (NAE), and to investigate the effect of glutamate-induced excitotoxicity on DNA methylation in astrocytes. A NAE co-culture method was created using a Transwell chamber, in which neurons were seeded on the bottom of the lower chamber, endothelial cells were plated on the top membrane, and astrocytes were plated on the bottom membrane of the insert. Glutamate-induced toxicity was induced using glutamate and glycine, and examined using immunofluorescence and lactate dehydrogenase release assay. Global methylation in astrocytes was analyzed, and the expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3a was examined using Western blot analysis. Glutamate treatment induced less neuronal damage in the NAE system compared with the control group in which neurons and astrocytes were cultured alone. Global DNA methylation was increased and the expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3a in astrocytes was increased after glutamate treatment, which was blocked by application of the NMDAR inhibitor MK-801 and the DNMT inhibitor 5-azaC from the endothelial cells. The in vitro ANE culture system is effective for studying glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, and may be used for testing the passage of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. Inhibition of DNA methylation in astrocytes may be a new therapeutic strategy for treating glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.