3,3'-Diindolylmethane Promotes BDNF and Antioxidant Enzyme Formation via TrkB/Akt Pathway Activation for Neuroprotection against Oxidative Stress-Induced Apoptosis in Hippocampal Neuronal Cells
3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol present in Brassicaceae vegetables, possesses various health-promoting effects. Nonetheless, the effect of DIM on neurodegenerative diseases has not been elucidated clearly. In this study, we hypothesized DIM may protect neuronal cells against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis by promoting the formation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and antioxidant enzymes through stabilizing the activation of the tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B (TrkB) cascade and we investigated the effect of DIM on oxidative stress-mediated neurodegenerative models. DIM protected neuronal cells against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis by regulating the expression of apoptosis-related proteins in glutamate-treated HT-22 cells. Additionally, DIM improved the expression of BDNF and antioxidant enzymes, such as heme oxygenase-1, glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit, and NAD(P)H quinine oxidoreductase-1, by promoting the activation of the TrkB/protein kinase B (Akt) pathway in the cells. Consistent with in vitro studies, DIM attenuated memory impairment by protecting hippocampal neuronal cells against oxidative damage in scopolamine-treated mice. Conclusionally, DIM exerted neuroprotective and antioxidant actions through the activation of both BDNF production and antioxidant enzyme formation in accordance with the TrkB/Akt pathway in neuronal cells. Such an effect of DIM may provide information for the application of DIM in the prevention of and therapy for neurodegenerative diseases.