The neuroprotective action of 3,3'-diindolylmethane against ischemia involves an inhibition of apoptosis and autophagy that depends on HDAC and AhR/CYP1A1 but not ERα/CYP19A1 signaling
There are no studies examining the effects of 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) in neuronal cells subjected to ischemia. Little is also known about the roles of apoptosis and autophagy as well as AhR and ERα signaling and HDACs in DIM action. We demonstrated for the first time the strong neuroprotective capacity of DIM in mouse primary hippocampal cell cultures exposed to ischemia at early and later stages of neuronal development. The protective effects of DIM were mediated via inhibition of ischemia-induced apoptosis and autophagy that was accompanied by a decrease in AhR/CYP1A1 signaling and an increase in HDAC activity. DIM decreased the levels of pro-apoptotic factors, i.e., Fas, Caspase-3, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). DIM also reduced the protein levels of autophagy-related Beclin-1 (BECN1) and microtubule-associated proteins 1A/1B light chain (LC3), partially reversed the ischemia-induced decrease in Nucleoporin 62 (NUP62) and inhibited autophagosome formation. In addition, DIM completely reversed the ischemia-induced decrease in histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity in hippocampal neurons. Although DIM inhibited AhR/CYP1A1 signaling, it did not influence the protein expression levels of ERα and ERα-regulated CYP19A1 which are known to be controlled by AhR. This study demonstrated for the first time, that the neuroprotective action of 3,3'-diindolylmethane against ischemia involves an inhibition of apoptosis and autophagy and depends on AhR/CYP1A1 signaling and HDAC activity, thus creating the possibility of developing new therapeutic strategies that target neuronal degeneration at specific molecular levels.