Adrenomedullin (AM) is a vasodilating hormone secreted mainly from vascular wall, and its expression is markedly enhanced after stroke. We have revealed that AM promotes not only vasodilation but also vascular regeneration. In this study, we focused on the roles of AM in the ischemic brain and examined its therapeutic potential. We developed novel AM-transgenic (AM-Tg) mice that overproduce AM in the liver and performed middle cerebral artery occlusion for 20 min (20m-MCAO) to examine the effects of AM on degenerative or regenerative processes in ischemic brain. The infarct area and gliosis after 20m-MCAO was reduced in AM-Tg mice in association with suppression of leukocyte infiltration, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in the ischemic core. In addition, vascular regeneration and subsequent neurogenesis were enhanced in AM-Tg mice, preceded by increase in mobilization of CD34+ mononuclear cells, which can differentiate into endothelial cells. The vasculo-neuro-regenerative actions observed in AM-Tg mice in combination with neuroprotection resulted in improved recovery of motor function. Brain edema was also significantly reduced in AM-Tg mice via suppression of vascular permeability. In vitro, AM exerted direct antiapoptotic and neurogenic actions on neuronal cells. Exogenous administration of AM in mice after 20m-MCAO also reduced the infarct area, and promoted vascular regeneration and functional recovery. In summary, this study suggests the neuroprotective and vasculo-neuro-regenerative roles of AM and provides basis for a new strategy to rescue ischemic brain through its multiple hormonal actions.
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