Neurochemical Research

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1387–1398 | Cite as

Regulation of Neprilysin Activity and Cognitive Functions in Rats After Prenatal Hypoxia

  • I. A. ZhuravinEmail author
  • N. M. Dubrovskaya
  • D. S. Vasilev
  • D. I. Kozlova
  • E. G. Kochkina
  • N. L. Tumanova
  • N. N. Nalivaeva
Original Paper


The amyloid-degrading enzyme neprilysin (NEP) is one of the therapeutic targets in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As we have shown previously NEP expression in rat parietal cortex (Cx) and hippocampus (Hip) decreases with age and is also significantly reduced after prenatal hypoxia. Following the paradigms for enhancement of NEP expression and activity developed in cell culture, we analysed the efficacy of various compounds able to upregulate NEP using our model of prenatal hypoxia in rats. In addition to the previous data demonstrating that valproic acid can upregulate NEP expression both in neuroblastoma cells and in rat Cx and Hip we have further confirmed that caspase inhibitors can also restore NEP expression in rat Cx reduced after prenatal hypoxia. Here we also report that administration of a green tea catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) to adult rats subjected to prenatal hypoxia increased NEP activity in blood plasma, Cx and Hip as well as improved memory performance in the 8-arm maze and novel object recognition tests. Moreover, EGCG administration led to an increased number of dendritic spines in the hippocampal CA1 area which correlated with memory enhancement. The data obtained allowed us to conclude that the decrease in the activity of the amyloid-degrading enzyme NEP, as well as a reduction in the number of labile interneuronal contacts in the hippocampus, contribute to early cognitive deficits caused by prenatal hypoxia and that there are therapeutic avenues to restore these deficits via NEP activation which could also be used for designing preventive strategies in AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Neprilysin Novel object recognition test Prenatal hypoxia Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) Dendritic spines 



Authors express their deepest gratitude to Prof Anthony J Turner for long-lasting collaboration and scientific guidance.


Supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFFI-19-015-00232) and Russian state budget (assignment AAAA-A18-118012290373-7).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All current international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of experimental animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. A. Zhuravin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • N. M. Dubrovskaya
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. S. Vasilev
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. I. Kozlova
    • 1
    • 3
  • E. G. Kochkina
    • 1
  • N. L. Tumanova
    • 1
  • N. N. Nalivaeva
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.I.M. Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and BiochemistryRussian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Research CentreSaint-Petersburg State Pediatric Medical UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.LLC Scientific and Production Company “ABRIS +”St. PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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