Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) antagonist MIA-690 and GHRH agonist MR-409, previously synthesized and developed by us have demonstrated potent antitumor effects. However, little is known about the effects of these analogs on brain functions. We investigated the potential antinflammatory and antioxidant effects of GHRH antagonist MIA-690 and GHRH agonist MR-409, on isolated mouse prefrontal cortex specimens treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Additionally, we studied their effects on emotional behavior after chronic in vivo treatment. Ex vivo, MIA-690 and MR-409 inhibited LPS-induced inflammatory and pro-oxidative markers. In vivo, both MIA-690 and MR-409 induced anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects, increased norepinephrine and serotonin levels and decreased nuclear factor-kB, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 gene expression in prefrontal cortex. Increased nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 expression was also found in mice treated with MIA-690 and MR-409. MIA-690 showed higher efficacy in inhibiting all tested inflammatory and oxidative markers. In addition, MR-409 induced a down regulation of the gene and protein expression of pituitary-type GHRH-receptor in prefrontal cortex of mice after 4 weeks of treatment at 5 µg/day. In conclusion, our results demonstrate anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects of GHRH analogs that could involve modulatory effects on monoaminergic signaling, inflammatory and oxidative status.
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