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1.  Delayed Postconditioning Protects against Focal Ischemic Brain Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3851.
We and others have reported that rapid ischemic postconditioning, interrupting early reperfusion after stroke, reduces infarction in rats. However, its extremely short therapeutic time windows, from a few seconds to minutes after reperfusion, may hinder its clinical translation. Thus, in this study we explored if delayed postconditioning, which is conducted a few hours after reperfusion, offers protection against stroke.
Methods and Results
Focal ischemia was generated by 30 min occlusion of bilateral common carotid artery (CCA) combined with permanent occlusion of middle cerebral artery (MCA); delayed postconditioning was performed by repetitive, brief occlusion and release of the bilateral CCAs, or of the ipsilateral CCA alone. As a result, delayed postconditioning performed at 3h and 6h after stroke robustly reduced infarct size, with the strongest protection achieved by delayed postconditioning with 6 cycles of 15 min occlusion/15 min release of the ipsilateral CCA executed from 6h. We found that this delayed postconditioning provided long-term protection for up to two months by reducing infarction and improving outcomes of the behavioral tests; it also attenuated reduction in 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG)-uptake therefore improving metabolism, and reduced edema and blood brain barrier leakage. Reperfusion in ischemic stroke patients is usually achieved by tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) application, however, t-PA's side effect may worsen ischemic injury. Thus, we tested whether delayed postconditioning counteracts the exacerbating effect of t-PA. The results showed that delayed postconditioning mitigated the worsening effect of t-PA on infarction.
Delayed postconditioning reduced ischemic injury after focal ischemia, which opens a new research avenue for stroke therapy and its underlying protective mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2588536  PMID: 19066627
2.  Limb remote-preconditioning protects against focal ischemia in rats and contradicts the dogma of therapeutic time windows for preconditioning 
Neuroscience  2007;151(4):1099-1103.
Remote ischemic preconditioning is an emerging concept for stroke treatment, but its protection against focal stroke has not been established. We tested whether remote preconditioning, performed in the ipsilateral hind limb, protects against focal stroke and explored its protective parameters. Stroke was generated by a permanent occlusion of the left distal middle cerebral artery (MCA) combined with a 30 minute occlusion of the bilateral common carotid arteries (CCA) in male rats. Limb preconditioning was generated by 5 or 15 minute occlusion followed with the same period of reperfusion of the left hind femoral artery, and repeated for 2 or 3 cycles. Infarct was measured 2 days later. The results showed that rapid preconditioning with 3 cycles of 15 minutes performed immediately before stroke reduced infarct size from 47.7±7.6% of control ischemia to 9.8±8.6%; at 2 cycles of 15 minutes, infarct was reduced to 24.7±7.3%; at 2 cycles of 5 minutes, infarct was not reduced. Delayed preconditioning with 3 cycles of 15 minutes conducted 2 days before stroke also reduced infarct to 23.0 ±10.9%, but with 2 cycles of 15 minutes it offered no protection. The protective effects at these two therapeutic time windows of remote preconditioning are consistent with those of conventional preconditioning, in which the preconditioning ischemia is induced in the brain itself. Unexpectedly, intermediate preconditioning with 3 cycles of 15 minutes performed 12 hours before stroke also reduced infarct to 24.7±4.7%, which contradicts the current dogma for therapeutic time windows for the conventional preconditioning that has no protection at this time point. In conclusion, remote preconditioning performed in one limb protected against ischemic damage after focal cerebral ischemia.
PMCID: PMC2696348  PMID: 18201834
preconditioning; remote preconditioning; limb preconditioning; cerebral ischemia; focal ischemia
3.  Ischemic Postconditioning Fails to Protect against Neonatal Cerebral Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e49695.
The lack of efficient neuroprotective strategies for neonatal stroke could be ascribed to pathogenic ischemic processes differentiating adults and neonates. We explored this hypothesis using a rat model of neonatal ischemia induced by permanent occlusion of the left distal middle cerebral artery combined with 50 min of occlusion of both common carotid arteries (CCA). Postconditioning was performed by repetitive brief release and occlusion (30 s, 1 and/or 5 min) of CCA after 50 min of CCA occlusion. Alternative reperfusion was generated by controlled release of the bilateral CCA occlusion. Blood-flow velocities in the left internal carotid artery were measured using color-coded pulsed Doppler ultrasound imaging. Cortical perfusion was measured using laser Doppler. Cerebrovascular vasoreactivity was evaluated after inhalation with the hypercapnic gas or inhaled nitric oxide (NO). Whatever the type of serial mechanical interruptions of blood flow at reperfusion, postconditioning did not reduce infarct volume after 72 hours. A gradual perfusion was found during early re-flow both in the left internal carotid artery and in the cortical penumbra. The absence of acute hyperemia during early CCA re-flow, and the lack of NO-dependent vasoreactivity in P7 rat brain could in part explain the inefficiency of ischemic postconditioning after ischemia-reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC3520965  PMID: 23251348
4.  The Akt pathway is involved in rapid ischemic tolerance in focal ischemia in Rats 
Translational stroke research  2010;1(3):202-209.
Although the protective mechanisms of delayed ischemic preconditioning have received extensive studies, few have addressed the mechanisms associated with rapid ischemic postconditioning. We investigated whether ischemic tolerance induced by rapid preconditioning is regulated by the Akt survival signaling pathway. Stroke was generated by permanent occlusion of the left distal middle cerebral artery (MCA) plus 30 min or 1 h occlusion of the bilateral common carotid artery (CCA) in male rats. Rapid preconditioning performed 1h before stroke onset reduced infarct size by 69% in rats with 30 min CCA occlusion, but by only 19% with 1 h occlusion. After control ischemia with 30 min CCA occlusion, Western Blot showed that P-Akt was transiently increased while Akt kinase assay showed that Akt activity was decreased. Although preconditioning did not change P-Akt levels at 1h and 5h compared with control ischemia, it attenuated reduction in Akt activity at 5h in the penumbra. However, preconditioning did not change the levels of P-PDK1, P-PTEN, and P-GSK3β in the Akt pathway, all of which were decreased after stroke. At last, the PI3K kinase inhibitor, LY294002, completely reversed the protection from ischemic preconditioning. In conclusion, Akt contributes to the protection of rapid preconditionin against stroke.
PMCID: PMC3144475  PMID: 21804899
rapid preconditioning; ischemic tolerance; cerebral ischemia; focal ischemia; neuroprotection; Akt
5.  Remote ischemic postconditioning protects against gastric mucosal lesions in rats 
AIM: To investigate the protective effects of remote ischemic postconditioning (RIP) against limb ischemia-reperfusion (IR)-induced gastric mucosal injury.
METHODS: Gastric IR was established in male Wistar rats by placing an elastic rubber band under a pressure of 290-310 mmHg on the proximal part of both lower limbs for 3 h followed by reperfusion for 0, 1, 3, 6, 12 or 24 h. RIP was performed using three cycles of 30 s of reperfusion and 30 s of reocclusion of the femoral aortic immediately after IR and before reperfusion for up to 24 h. Rats were randomly assigned to receive IR (n = 36), IR followed by RIP (n = 36), or sham treatment (n = 36). Gastric tissue samples were collected from six animals in each group at each timepoint and processed to determine levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), xanthine oxidase (XOD) and myeloperoxidase (MPO). Additional samples were processed for histologic analysis by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Blood samples were similarly collected to determine serum levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatine kinase (CK), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-10.
RESULTS: The pathologic changes in gastric tissue induced by IR were observed by light microscopy. Administration of RIP dramatically reduced the gastric damage score after 6 h of reperfusion (5.85 ± 0.22 vs 7.72 ± 0.43; P < 0.01). In addition, RIP treatment decreased the serum activities of LDH (3.31 ± 0.32 vs 6.46 ± 0.03; P < 0.01), CK (1.94 ± 0.20 vs 4.54 ± 0.19; P < 0.01) and the concentration of TNF-α (53.82 ± 0.85 vs 88.50 ± 3.08; P < 0.01), and elevated the concentration of IL-10 (101.46 ± 5.08 vs 99.77 ± 4.32; P < 0.01) induced by IR at 6 h. Furthermore, RIP treatment prevented the marked elevation in MDA (3.79 ± 0.29 vs 6.39 ± 0.81) content, XOD (7.81 ± 0.75 vs 10.37 ± 2.47) and MPO (0.47 ± 0.05 vs 0.82 ± 0.03) activities, and decrease in SOD (4.95 ± 0.32 vs 3.41 ± 0.38; P < 0.01) activity in the gastric tissue as measured at 6 h.
CONCLUSION: RIP provides effective functional protection and prevents cell injury to gastric tissue induced by limb IR via anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions.
PMCID: PMC4110584  PMID: 25071347
Remote ischemic postconditioning; Limb ischemia-reperfusion; Gastric ischemia; Protection; Rat
6.  Neuroprotective Consequences of Postconditioning on Embolic Model of Cerebral Ischemia in Rat 
Objective(s): It has been reported that ischemic postconditioning, conducted by a series of brief occlusion and release of the bilateral common carotid arteries, confers neuroprotection in permanent or transient models of stroke. However, consequences of postconditioning on embolic stroke have not yet been investigated.
Materials and Methods: In the present study, rats were subjected to embolic stroke (n=30) or sham stroke (n=5). Stroke animals were divided into control (n=10) or three different patterns of postconditioning treatments (n=20). In the first pattern of postconditioning (PC10, n=10), the common carotid arteries (CCA) were occluded and reopened 10 and 30 sec, respectively for 5 cycles. Both occluding and releasing times in pattern 2 (PC30, n=5) and 3 (PC60, N=5) of postconditionings, were five cycles of 30 or 60 sec, respectively. Postconditioning was induced at 30 min following the stroke. Subsequently, cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured from 5 min before to 60 min following to stroke induction. Infarct size, brain edema and neurological deficits and reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was measured two days later.
Results: While PC10 (P<0.001), PC30 and PC60 (P<0.05) significantly decreased infarct volume, only PC10 decreased brain edema and neurological deficits (P<0.05). Correspondingly, PC10 prevented the hyperemia of brain at 35, 40, 50 and 60 min after the embolic stroke (P<0.005). No significant difference in ROS level was observed between PC10 and control group.
Conclusion: Ischemic postconditioning reduces infarct volume and brain edema, decreases hyperemia following to injury and improves neurological functions after the embolic model of stroke.
PMCID: PMC3843857  PMID: 24298382
7.  Isoflurane postconditioning reduces ischemia-induced nuclear factor-κB activation and interleukin 1β production to provide neuroprotection in rats and mice 
Neurobiology of disease  2013;54:216-224.
Application of isoflurane, a volatile anesthetic, after brain ischemia can reduce ischemic brain injury in rodents (isoflurane postconditioning). This study is designed to determine whether isoflurane postconditioning improves long-term neurological outcome after focal brain ischemia and whether this protection is mediated by attenuating neuroinflammation. Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were subjected to a 90-min middle cerebral arterial occlusion (MCAO). Isoflurane postconditioning was performed by exposing rats to 2% isoflurane for 60 min immediately after the MCAO. Isoflurane postconditioning reduced brain infarct volumes, apoptotic cells in the ischemic penumbral brain tissues and neurological deficits of rats at 4 weeks after the MCAO. Isoflurane postconditioning reduced brain ischemia/reperfusion-induced nuclear transcription factor (NF)-κB (NF-κB) activation as well as interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 production in the ischemic penumbral brain tissues at 24 h after the MCAO. IL-1β deficient mice had smaller brain infarct volumes and better neurological functions than wild-type mice at 24 h after a 90-min focal brain ischemia. Isoflurane posttreatment failed to induce neuroprotection in the IL-1β deficient mice. Our results suggest that isoflurane postconditioning improved long-term neurological outcome after transient focal brain ischemia. This protection may be mediated by inhibiting NF-κB activation and the production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β.
PMCID: PMC3628970  PMID: 23313315
interleukin 1β; isoflurane; neuroprotection; nuclear factor-κB; postconditioning
8.  The Effects of Remote Ischemic Preconditioning and N-Acetylcysteine with Remote Ischemic Preconditioning in Rat Hepatic Ischemia Reperfusion Injury Model 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:892704.
Background. Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIP) and pharmacological preconditioning are the effective methods that can be used to prevent ischemia reperfusion (IR) injury. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of RIP and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) with RIP in the rat hepatic IR injury model. Materials and Methods. 28 rats were divided into 4 groups. Group I (sham): only laparotomy was performed. Group II (IR): following 30 minutes of hepatic pedicle occlusion, 4 hours of reperfusion was performed. Group III (RIP + IR): following 3 cycles of RIP, hepatic IR was performed. Group IV (RIP + NAC + IR): following RIP and intraperitoneal administration of NAC (150 mg/kg), hepatic IR was performed. All the rats were sacrificed after blood samples were taken for the measurements of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and liver was processed for conventional histopathology. Results. The hepatic histopathological injury scores of RIP + IR and RIP + NAC + IR groups were significantly lower than IR group (P = 0.006, P = 0.003, resp.). There were no significant differences in AST and ALT values between the IR, RIP + IR, and RIP + NAC + IR groups. Conclusions. In the present study, it was demonstrated histopathologically that RIP and RIP + NAC decreased hepatic IR injury significantly.
PMCID: PMC3910499  PMID: 24511549
9.  Ischemic postconditioning may not influence early brain injury induced by focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion in rats 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2010;58(2):176-183.
Experimental studies have shown that ischemic postconditioning can reduce neuronal injury in the setting of cerebral ischemia, but the mechanisms are not yet clearly elucidated. This study was conducted to determine whether ischemic postconditioning can alter expression of heat shock protein 70 and reduce acute phase neuronal injury in rats subjected to transient focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion.
Focal cerebral ischemia was induced by intraluminal middle cerebral artery occlusion for 60 min in twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats (250-300 g). Rats were randomized into control group and an ischemic postconditioning group (10 rats per group). The animals of control group had no intervention either before or after MCA occlusion. Ischemic postconditioning was elicited by 3 cycles of 30 s reperfusion interspersed by 10 s ischemia immediately after onset of reperfusion. The infarct ratios, brain edema ratios and motor behavior deficits were analyzed 24 hrs after ischemic insult. Caspase-3 reactive cells and cells showing heat shock protein 70 activity were counted in the caudoputamen and frontoparietal cortex.
Ischemic postconditiong did not reduce infarct size and brain edema ratios compared to control group. Neurologic scores were not significantly different between groups. The number of caspase-3 reactive cells in the ischemic postconditioning group was not significantly different than the value of the control group in the caudoputamen and frontoparietal cortex. The number of cells showing heat shock protein 70 activity was not significantly different than the control group, as well.
These results suggest that ischemic postconditioning may not influence the early brain damage induced by focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
PMCID: PMC2872862  PMID: 20498797
Focal cerebral ischemia; Neuroproctection; Postconditioning; Rat
10.  The Protective Effects of Ischemic Postconditioning against Stroke: From Rapid to Delayed and Remote Postconditioning 
The author reviews the protective effects of ischemic postconditioning, a recently emerging strategy with broad implications in the search for new treatments in stroke and myocardial ischemic injury. Ischemic postconditioning, which refers to a series of brief ischemia and reperfusion cycles applied immediately at the site of the ischemic organ after reperfusion, results in reduced infarction in both cerebral and myocardial ischemia. Conventional postconditioning induced within a few minutes after reperfusion is arbitrarily defined as rapid postconditioning. In contrast, postconditioning performed hours to days after stroke is defined as delayed postconditioning. In addition, postconditioning can be mimicked using anesthetics or other pharmacological agents as stimuli to protect against ischemia/reperfusion injury or performed in a distant organ, which is known as remote postconditioning. In this article, the author discusses the conceptual origin of classical rapid ischemic postconditioning and its evolution into a term that represents a broad range of stimuli or triggers, including delayed postconditioning, pharmacological postconditioning, and remote postconditioning. Thereafter, various in vivo and in vitro models of postconditioning and its potential protective mechanisms are discussed. Since the concept of postconditioning is so closely associated with that of preconditioning and both share some common protective mechanisms, whether a combination of preconditioning and postconditioning offers greater protection than preconditioning or postconditioning alone is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3204606  PMID: 22053169
Postconditioning; preconditioning; stroke; cerebral ischemia; focal ischemia; neuroprotection
11.  Inhibition of Autophagy Contributes to Ischemic Postconditioning-Induced Neuroprotection against Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46092.
Ischemic postconditioning (IPOC), or relief of ischemia in a stuttered manner, has emerged as an innovative treatment strategy to reduce programmed cell death, attenuate ischemic injuries, and improve neurological outcomes. However, the mechanisms involved have not been completely elucidated. Recent studies indicate that autophagy is a type of programmed cell death that plays elusive roles in controlling neuronal damage and metabolic homeostasis. This study aims to determine the role of autophagy in IPOC-induced neuroprotection against focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A focal cerebral ischemic model with permanent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion plus transient common carotid artery (CCA) occlusion was established. The autophagosomes and the expressions of LC3/Beclin 1/p62 were evaluated for their contribution to the activation of autophagy. We found that autophagy was markedly induced with the upregulation of LC3/Beclin 1 and downregulation of p62 in the penumbra at various time intervals following ischemia. IPOC, performed at the onset of reperfusion, reduced infarct size, mitigated brain edema, inhibited the induction of LC3/Beclin 1 and reversed the reduction of p62 simultaneously. Rapamycin, an inducer of autophagy, partially reversed all the aforementioned effects induced by IPOC. Conversely, autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) attenuated the ischemic insults, inhibited the activation of autophagy, and elevated the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, to an extent comparable to IPOC.
The present study suggests that inhibition of the autophagic pathway plays a key role in IPOC-induced neuroprotection against focal cerebral ischemia. Thus, pharmacological inhibition of autophagy may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of stroke.
PMCID: PMC3461004  PMID: 23029398
12.  Protection of ischemic post conditioning against transient focal ischemia-induced brain damage is associated with inhibition of neuroinflammation via modulation of TLR2 and TLR4 pathways 
Background and purpose
Ischemic postconditioning has been demonstrated to be a protective procedure to brain damage caused by transient focal ischemia/reperfusion. However, it is elusive whether the protection of postconditioning against brain damage and neuroinflammation is via regulating TLR2 and TLR4 pathways. In the present study, we examined the protection of ischemic postconditioning performed immediately prior to the recovery of cerebral blood supply on brain damage caused by various duration of ischemia and tested the hypothesis that its protection is via inhibition of neuroinflammation by modulating TLR2/TLR4 pathways.
Brain damage in rats was induced by using the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model. Ischemic postconditioning consisting of fivecycles of ten seconds of ischemia and reperfusion was performed immediately following theischemic episode Theduration of administration of ischemic postconditioning was examined by comparing its effects on infarction volume, cerebral edema and neurological function in 2, 3, 4, 4.5and 6 hour ischemia groups. The protective mechanism of ischemic postconditioning was investigated by comparing its effects on apoptosis, production of the neurotoxic cytokine IL-1β and the transcription and expression of TLR2, TLR4 and IRAK4 in the 2 and 4.5 hour ischemia groups.
Ischemic postconditioning significantly attenuated cerebral infarction, cerebral edema and neurological dysfunction in ischemia groups of up to 4 hours duration, but not in 4.5and 6 hour ischemia groups. It also inhibited apoptosis, production of IL-1β, abnormal transcription and expression of TLR2, TLR4 and IRAK4 in the 2 hour ischemia group, but not in the 4.5 hour ischemia group.
Ischemic postconditioning protected brain damage caused by 2, 3 and 4 hours of ischemia, but not by 4.5 and 6 hours of ischemia. The protection of ischemic postconditioning is associated with its inhibition of neuroinflammation via inhibition of TLR2 and TLR4 pathways.
PMCID: PMC3908918  PMID: 24460643
Ischemic postconditioning; Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion; TLR2; TLR4; Neuroinflammation
13.  Effects of the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor nimesulide on cerebral infarction and neurological deficits induced by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion in the rat 
Previous studies suggest that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor nimesulide has a remarkable protective effect against different types of brain injury including ischemia. Since there are no reports on the effects of nimesulide on permanent ischemic stroke and because most cases of human stroke are caused by permanent occlusion of cerebral arteries, the present study was conducted to assess the neuroprotective efficacy of nimesulide on the cerebral infarction and neurological deficits induced by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) in the rat.
Ischemia was induced by permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in rats, via surgical insertion of a nylon filament into the internal carotid artery. Infarct volumes (cortical, subcortical and total) and functional recovery, assessed by neurological score evaluation and rotarod performance test, were performed 24 h after pMCAO. In initial experiments, different doses of nimesulide (3, 6 and 12 mg/kg; i.p) or vehicle were administered 30 min before pMCAO and again at 6, 12 and 18 h after stroke. In later experiments we investigated the therapeutic time window of protection of nimesulide by delaying its first administration 0.5–4 h after the ischemic insult.
Repeated treatments with nimesulide dose-dependently reduced cortical, subcortical and total infarct volumes as well as the neurological deficits and motor impairment resulting from permanent ischemic stroke, but only the administration of the highest dose (12 mg/kg) was able to significantly (P < 0.01) diminish infarct volume. The lower doses failed to significantly reduce infarction but showed a beneficial effect on neurological function. Nimesulide (12 mg/kg) not only reduced infarct volume but also enhanced functional recovery when the first treatment was given up to 2 h after stroke.
These data show that nimesulide protects against permanent focal cerebral ischemia, even with a 2 h post-treatment delay. These findings have important implications for the therapeutic potential of using COX-2 inhibitors in the treatment of stroke.
PMCID: PMC546225  PMID: 15656909
14.  Protection against focal ischemic injury to the brain by trans-sodium crocetinate 
Journal of Neurosurgery  2010;113(4):802-809.
Ischemic injury is a potential complication in a variety of surgical procedures and is a particular impediment to the success of surgeries involving highly vulnerable neural tissue. One approach to limiting this form of injury is to enhance metabolic supply to the affected tissue. Trans-sodium crocetinate (TSC) is a carotenoid compound that has been shown to increase tissue oxygenation by facilitating the diffusivity of small molecules, such as oxygen and glucose. The present study examined the ability of TSC to modify oxygenation in ischemic neural tissue and tested the potential neuroprotective effects of TSC in permanent and temporary models of focal cerebral ischemia.
Adult male rats (330–370 g) were subjected to either permanent or temporary focal ischemia by simultaneous occlusion of both common carotid arteries and the left middle cerebral artery (3-vessel occlusion [3-VO]). Using the permanent ischemia paradigm, TSC was administered intravenously beginning 10 minutes after the onset of ischemia at 1 of 8 dosages, ranging from 0.023 to 4.580 mg/kg. Cerebral infarct volume was measured 24 hours after the onset of ischemia. The effect of TSC on infarct volume was also tested after temporary (2-hour) ischemia using a dosage of 0.092 mg/kg. In other animals undergoing temporary ischemia, tissue oxygenation was monitored in the ischemic penumbra using a Licox probe.
Administration of TSC reduced infarct volume in a dose-dependent manner in the permanent ischemia model, achieving statistical significance at dosages ranging from 0.046 to 0.229 mg/kg. The most effective dosage of TSC in the permanent ischemia experiment (0.092 mg/kg) was further tested using a temporary (2-hour) ischemia paradigm. Infarct volume was reduced significantly by TSC in this ischemia-reperfusion model as well. Recordings of oxygen levels in the ischemic penumbra of the temporary ischemia model showed that TSC increased tissue oxygenation during vascular occlusion, but reduced the oxygen overshoot (hyperoxygenation) that occurs upon reperfusion.
The novel carotenoid compound TSC exerts a neuroprotective influence against permanent and temporary ischemic injury when administered soon after the onset of ischemia. The protective mechanism of TSC remains to be confirmed; however, the permissive effect of TSC on the diffusivity of small molecules is a plausible mechanism based on the observed increase in tissue oxygenation in the ischemic penumbra. This represents a form of protection based on “metabolic reflow” that can occur under conditions of partial vascular perfusion. It is particularly noteworthy that TSC could conceivably limit the progression of a wide variety of cellular injury mechanisms by blunting the ischemic challenge to the brain.
PMCID: PMC3380430  PMID: 19961314
trans-sodium crocetinate; focal ischemia; oxygen delivery; neuroprotection; metabolic reflow
15.  Ischemic postconditioning protects against focal cerebral ischemia by inhibiting brain inflammation while attenuating peripheral lymphopenia in mice 
Neuroscience  2013;243:149-157.
Ischemic postconditioning (IPostC) has been shown to attenuate brain injury in rat stroke models, but a mouse model has not been reported. This study establishes an IPostC model in mice and investigates how IPostC affects infiltration of leukocytes in the ischemic brain and lymphopenia associated with stroke-induced immunodepression.
Material and Methods
A total of 125 mice were used. IPostC was performed by a repeated series of brief occlusions of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) after reperfusion, in a focal ischemia model in mice. Infarct sizes, neurological scores, inflammatory brain cells and immune cell populations in lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow were analyzed with FACS.
IPostC performed immediately, 2 min and 3 hr after reperfusion significantly reduced infarct sizes and attenuated neurological scores as measured up to 3 days post-stroke. In the group with strongest protection, infarct sizes were reduced from 49.6 ± 2.8% (n=16) to 27.9 ± 2.9% (n=10, P<.001). The spared infarct areas were seen in the ischemic penumbra or ischemic margins, i.e., the border zones between the cortical territories of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) and those of the MCA, as well as in the ventromedial and dorsolateral striatum. FACS analyses showed that IPostC significantly blocked increases in the numbers of microglia (CD45intCD11b+), macrophages (CD45hiCD68+), CD4 T cells (CD45+CD4+) and CD8 T cells (CD45+CD8+) as well as B lymphocytes (CD45+CD19+) in the ischemic brain (n=5/group). Reduced-immune cell numbers in the peripheral blood and spleen were increased by IPostC while immune cell populations in the bone marrow were not altered by IPostC.
IPostC reduced brain infarction and mitigated neurological deficits in mice, likely by blocking infiltration of both innate and adaptive immune cells in the ischemic brain. In addition, IPostC robustly attenuated peripheral lymphopenia and thus improved systemic immunodepression.
PMCID: PMC3735351  PMID: 23590905
cerebral ischemia; postconditioning; infarction size; mouse model
16.  Influence of Age on the Response to Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Treatment in a Rat Model of Stroke 
Brain research  2006;1123(1):237-244.
Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) has been reported to protect against ischemic injury in the brains of young adult rodents. However, little is known about whether FGF-2 retains this capability in the aged ischemic brain. Since stroke in human is much more common in older people than among younger adults, to address this question is clinically important. In this study, aged (24-month-old) rats were treated with intracerebroventricular infusion of FGF-2 or vehicle for 3 days, beginning 48 hr before (pre-ischemia), 24 hr after (early post-ischemia), or 96 hr after (late post-ischemia) 60 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion, and were killed 10 days after ischemia. Aged rats given FGF-2 pre-ischemia showed better symmetry of movement and forepaw outstretching, and reduced infarct volumes, compared to rats treated with vehicle, but no significant improvement was found in aged rats given FGF-2 after focal ischemia. In contrast, young adult (3-month-old) rats treated with FGF-2 for 3 days beginning 24 hr post-ischemia showed significant neurobehavioral improvement and better histological outcome. In addition, we also found that newborn neurons in the rostral subventricular zone (SVZ) were increased in aged rats treated with FGF-2 prior to ischemia. However, unlike in young adult ischemic rats, only a few of newly generated cells migrated into the damaged region in aged brain after focal ischemia. These findings point to differences in the response of aged versus young adult rats to FGF-2 in cerebral ischemia, and suggest that such differences need to be considered in the development of neuroprotective agents for stroke.
PMCID: PMC1820636  PMID: 17064673
aging; growth factor; ischemia; brain; neurogenesis; neuroprotection
17.  Cardioprotection by postconditioning in conscious rats is limited to coronary occlusions <45 min 
Brief episodes of ischemia and reperfusion after a lethal ischemic insult confer cardioprotection, a phenomenon termed “ischemic postconditioning.” However, all studies reported to date have been conducted in open-chest animal models. We sought to determine whether postconditioning occurs in conscious animals and whether it protects against severe myocardial injury.
Chronically instrumented rats were assigned to a 30- (Subset 1), 45- (Subset 2), or 60-min (Subset 3) coronary occlusion followed by 24 h of reperfusion. In each subset, rats received no further intervention (control), were preconditioned with 12 cycles of 2-min occlusion/2-min reperfusion immediately (early preconditioning; EPC) or 24 h (late preconditioning; LPC) before myocardial infarction, or were postconditioned with 20 cycles of 10-s occlusion/10-s reperfusion immediately after myocardial infarction (20-10 PostC).
With a 30-min occlusion, infarct size (54.4 ± 2.3% of risk region in control-30) was significantly reduced in EPC-30, LPC-30, and 20-10 PostC-30 groups (by 72, 70, and 47%, respectively; all P < 0.05 vs. control-30). With a 45-min occlusion, infarct size (62.2 ± 2.4% in control-45) was reduced in EPC-45 and LPC-45 groups (by 47 and 41%, respectively; all P < 0.05 vs. control-45) but not in the 20-10 PostC-45 group [55.4 ± 2.3%, P = not significant (NS) vs. control-45]. With a 60-min occlusion, infarct size (72.7 ± 2.2% in control-60) was reduced in the EPC-60 (by 20%, P < 0.05) but not in the LPC-60 (63.6 ± 2.5%, P = NS) or in the 20-20 PostC group (71.5 ± 3.4%, P = NS).
Both early and late ischemic preconditioning as well as ischemic postconditioning confer protection in conscious rats; however, unlike early preconditioning, postconditioning protects only against coronary occlusions <45 min. In the conscious rat, the cardioprotection afforded by postconditioning is limited to mild to moderate myocardial injury.
PMCID: PMC3741072  PMID: 16815986
myocardium; ischemia; infarct size; preconditioning
18.  Electroacupuncture pretreatment attenuates cerebral ischemic injury through α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated inhibition of high-mobility group box 1 release in rats 
We have previously reported that electroacupuncture (EA) pretreatment induced tolerance against cerebral ischemic injury, but the mechanisms underlying this effect of EA are unknown. In this study, we assessed the effect of EA pretreatment on the expression of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChR), using the ischemia-reperfusion model of focal cerebral ischemia in rats. Further, we investigated the role of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in neuroprotection mediated by the α7nAChR and EA.
Rats were treated with EA at the acupoint "Baihui (GV 20)" 24 h before focal cerebral ischemia which was induced for 120 min by middle cerebral artery occlusion. Neurobehavioral scores, infarction volumes, neuronal apoptosis, and HMGB1 levels were evaluated after reperfusion. The α7nAChR agonist PHA-543613 and the antagonist α-bungarotoxin (α-BGT) were used to investigate the role of the α7nAChR in mediating neuroprotective effects. The roles of the α7nAChR and HMGB1 release in neuroprotection were further tested in neuronal cultures exposed to oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD).
Our results showed that the expression of α7nAChR was significantly decreased after reperfusion. EA pretreatment prevented the reduction in neuronal expression of α7nAChR after reperfusion in the ischemic penumbra. Pretreatment with PHA-543613 afforded neuroprotective effects against ischemic damage. Moreover, EA pretreatment reduced infarct volume, improved neurological outcome, inhibited neuronal apoptosis and HMGB1 release following reperfusion, and the beneficial effects were attenuated by α-BGT. The HMGB1 levels in plasma and the penumbral brain tissue were correlated with the number of apoptotic neurons in the ischemic penumbra. Furthermore, OGD in cultured neurons triggered HMGB1 release into the culture medium, and this effect was efficiently suppressed by PHA-543,613. Pretreatment with α-BGT reversed the inhibitory effect of PHA-543,613 on HMGB1 release.
These data demonstrate that EA pretreatment strongly protects the brain against transient cerebral ischemic injury, and inhibits HMGB1 release through α7nAChR activation in rats. These findings suggest the novel potential for stroke interventions harnessing the anti-inflammatory effects of α7nAChR activation, through acupuncture or pharmacological strategies.
PMCID: PMC3297509  PMID: 22277256
α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; Cerebral ischemia; Electroacupuncture; Pretreatment; High-mobility group box 1
19.  Remote Limb Ischemic Postconditioning Protects Against Neonatal Hypoxic–Ischemic Brain Injury in Rat Pups by the Opioid Receptor/Akt Pathway 
Background and Purpose
Remote ischemic postconditoning, a phenomenon in which brief ischemic stimuli of 1 organ protect another organ against an ischemic insult, has been demonstrated to protect the myocardium and adult brain in animal models. However, mediators of the protection and underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that remote limb ischemic postconditioning applied immediately after hypoxia provides neuroprotection in a rat model of neonatal hypoxia–ischemia (HI) by mechanisms involving activation of the opioid receptor/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway.
HI was induced in postnatal Day 10 rat pups by unilateral carotid ligation and 2 hours of hypoxia. Limb ischemic postconditioning was induced by 4 conditioning cycles of 10 minutes of ischemia and reperfusion on both hind limbs immediately after HI. The opioid antagonist naloxone, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin, or opioid agonist morphine was administered to determine underlying mechanisms. Infarct volume, brain atrophy, and neurological outcomes after HI were evaluated. Expression of phosphorylated Akt, Bax, and phosphorylated ERK1/2 was determined by Western blotting.
Limb ischemic postconditioning significantly reduced infarct volume at 48 hours and improved functional outcomes at 4 weeks after HI. Naloxone and wortmannin abrogated the postconditioning-mediated infarct-limiting effect. Morphine given immediately after hypoxia also decreased infarct volume. Furthermore, limb ischemic postconditioning recovered Akt activity and decreased Bax expression, whereas no differences in phosphorylated ERK1/2expression were observed.
Limb ischemic postconditioning protects against neonatal HI brain injury in rats by activating the opioid receptor/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3703505  PMID: 21183744
Akt; limb ischemic postconditioning; neonatal hypoxia–ischemia; opioid receptor
20.  The Akt signaling pathway contributes to postconditioning’s protection against stroke; the protection is associated with the MAPK and PKC pathways 
Journal of neurochemistry  2008;105(3):943-955.
We previously reported that ischemic postconditioning with a series of mechanical interruptions of reperfusion reduced infarct volume 2 days after focal ischemia in rats. Here, we extend this data by examining long-term protection and exploring underlying mechanisms involving the Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and protein kinase C (PKC) signaling pathways. Post-conditioning reduced infarct and improved behavioral function assessed 30 days after stroke. Additionally, postconditioning increased levels of phosphorylated Akt (Ser473) as measured by western blot and Akt activity as measured by an in vitro kinase assay. Inhibiting Akt activity by a phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002, enlarged infarct in postconditioned rats. Postconditioning did not affect protein levels of phosphorylated-phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 or -phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (molecules upstream of Akt) but did inhibit an increase in phosphorylated-glycogen synthase kinase 3β, an Akt effector. In addition, postconditioning blocked β-catenin phosphorylation subsequent to glycogen synthase kinase, but had no effect on total or non-phosphorylated active β-catenin protein levels. Furthermore, postconditioning inhibited increases in the amount of phosphorylated-c-Jun N-terminal kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 in the MAPK pathway. Finally, postconditioning blocked death-promoting δPKC cleavage and attenuated reduction in phosphorylation of survival-promoting εPKC. In conclusion, our data suggest that postconditioning provides long-term protection against stroke in rats. Additionally, we found that Akt activity contributes to postconditioning’s protection; furthermore, increases in εPKC activity, a survival-promoting pathway, and reductions in MAPK and δPKC activity; two putative death-promoting pathways correlate with postconditioning’s protection.
PMCID: PMC2746404  PMID: 18182053
Akt; cerebral ischemia; mitogen-activated protein kinase; postconditioning; protein kinase C; β-catenin
21.  Propofol Protects Against Focal Cerebral Ischemia via Inhibition of Microglia-Mediated Proinflammatory Cytokines in a Rat Model of Experimental Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82729.
Ischemic stroke induces microglial activation and release of proinflammatory cytokines, contributing to the expansion of brain injury and poor clinical outcome. Propofol has been shown to ameliorate neuronal injury in a number of experimental studies, but the precise mechanisms involved in its neuroprotective effects remain unclear. We tested the hypothesis that propofol confers neuroprotection against focal ischemia by inhibiting microglia-mediated inflammatory response in a rat model of ischemic stroke. Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2 h followed by 24 h of reperfusion. Propofol (50 mg/kg/h) or vehicle was infused intravenously at the onset of reperfusion for 30 minutes. In vehicle-treated rats, MCAO resulted in significant cerebral infarction, higher neurological deficit scores and decreased time on the rotarod compared with sham-operated rats. Propofol treatment reduced infarct volume and improved the neurological functions. In addition, molecular studies demonstrated that mRNA expression of microglial marker Cd68 and Emr1 was significantly increased, and mRNA and protein expressions of proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β and interleukin-6 were augmented in the peri-infarct cortical regions of vehicle-treated rats 24 h after MCAO. Immunohistochemical study revealed that number of total microglia and proportion of activated microglia in the peri-infarct cortical regions were markedly elevated. All of these findings were ameliorated in propofol-treated rats. Furthermore, vehicle-treated rats had higher plasma levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein 24 h after MCAO, which were decreased after treatment with propofol. These results suggest that propofol protects against focal cerebral ischemia via inhibition of microglia-mediated proinflammatory cytokines. Propofol may be a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of ischemic stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases associated with microglial activation.
PMCID: PMC3857282  PMID: 24349350
22.  A feasible strategy for focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury: remote ischemic postconditioning 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(15):1460-1463.
It is difficult to control the degree of ischemic postconditioning in the brain and other ischemia-sensitive organs. Remote ischemic postconditioning could protect some ischemia-sensitive organs through measures on terminal organs. In this study, a focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury model was established using three cycles of remote ischemic postconditioning, each cycle consisted of 10-minute occlusion of the femoral artery and 10-minute opening. The results showed that, remote ischemic postconditioning significantly decreased the percentage of the infarct area and attenuated brain edema. In addition, inflammatory nuclear factor-κB expression was significantly lower, while anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression was significantly elevated in the cerebral cortex on the ischemic side. Our findings indicate that remote ischemic postconditioning attenuates focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury, and that the neuroprotective mechanism is mediated by an anti-apoptotic effect and reduction of the inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC4192948  PMID: 25317158
nerve regeneration; remote ischemic postconditioning; focal cerebral ischemia; neuroprotection; apoptosis; inflammation; brain injury; nuclear factor-κB; Bcl-2; neural regeneration
23.  Remote ischaemic pre- and delayed postconditioning – similar degree of cardioprotection but distinct mechanisms 
Experimental Physiology  2012;97(8):908-917.
Myocardial ischaemia–reperfusion injury can be significantly reduced by an episode(s) of ischaemia–reperfusion applied prior to or during myocardial ischaemia (MI) to peripheral tissue located at a distance from the heart; this phenomenon is called remote ischaemic conditioning (RIc). Here, we compared the efficacy of RIc in protecting the heart when the RIc stimulus is applied prior to, during and at different time points after MI. A rat model of myocardial ischaemia–reperfusion injury involved 30 min of left coronary artery occlusion followed by 120 min of reperfusion. Remote ischaemic conditioning was induced by 15 min occlusion of femoral arteries and conferred a similar degree of cardioprotection when applied 25 min prior to MI, 10 or 25 min after the onset of MI, or starting 10 min after the onset of reperfusion. These RIc stimuli reduced infarct size by 54, 56, 56 and 48% (all P < 0.001), respectively. Remote ischaemic conditioning applied 30 min into the reperfusion period was ineffective. Activation of sensory nerves by application of capsaicin was effective in establishing cardioprotection only when elicited prior to MI. Vagotomy or denervation of the peripheral ischaemic tissue both completely abolished cardioprotection induced by RIc applied prior to MI. Cardioprotection conferred by delayed remote postconditioning was not affected by either vagotomy or peripheral denervation. These results indicate that RIc confers potent cardioprotection even if applied with a significant delay after the onset of myocardial reperfusion. Cardioprotection by remote preconditioning is critically dependent on afferent innervation of the remote organ and intact parasympathetic activity, while delayed remote postconditioning appears to rely on a different signalling pathway(s).
PMCID: PMC3470925  PMID: 22427438
24.  Inhibition of central angiotensin-converting enzyme with enalapril protects the brain from ischemia/reperfusion injury in normotensive rat 
Background and the Purpose of the study
Central Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) has an important role on cerebral microcirculation and metabolism. However, its role in terms of protecting the brain from ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury are debatable. This study evaluated the role of ACE, using enalapril as ACE inhibitor, in protection of the brain from I/R injury during transient focal cerebral ischemia (TFCI) in normotensive rat.
Male Sprague Dawley rats (280–320g) randomly assigned to control ischemic and enalapril pre-treated ischemic groups. Enalapril was injected intraperitoneally 1 h before middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) at the dose of 0.03 or 0.1 mg/kg. Cerebral ischemia was induced by 60 min MCAO followed by 24 hrs reperfusion. After evaluation of neurological deficit scores (NDS) the animal was sacrificed for assessment of cerebral infarction and edema.
TFCI induced cerebral infarctions (283±18 mm3), brain edema (4.1±0.4%) and swelling (9.8±1.5%) with NDS of 3.11±0.36. Non-hypotensive dose of enalapril (0.03 mg/kg) improved NDS (1.37±0.26), reduced cerebral infarction (45%), brain edema (54%) and swelling of the lesioned hemispheres (34%) significantly. However, hypotensive dose of enalapril (0.1 mg/kg) could improve neurological activity (1.67±0.31) and failed to reduce cerebral infarction (276±39 mm3) and swelling (10.4±1.4%).
In the rat model of transient focal cerebral ischemia, inhibition of angiotensin converting enzyme with non-hypotensive doses of enalapril has the benefit of improving neurological activity, reducing cerebral infarction, brain swelling and edema of acute ischemic stroke. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that central renin-angiotensin system may participate in ischemic/reperfusion injury of the cerebral cortex.
PMCID: PMC3232089  PMID: 22615591
Cerebral ischemia; Lesion volume; Edema; ACE inhibition; Enalapril
25.  Neutralization of chemokine-like factor 1, a novel C-C chemokine, protects against focal cerebral ischemia by inhibiting neutrophil infiltration via MAPK pathways in rats 
Inflammation plays a key role in the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke. Some proinflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and chemokines, are produced in stroke. Chemokine-like factor 1 (CKLF1), as a novel C-C chemokine, displays chemotactic activities in a wide spectrum of leukocytes and plays an important role in brain development. In previous studies, we have found that the expression of CKLF1 increased in rats after focal cerebral ischemia and treatment with the CKLF1 antagonist C19 peptide decreased the infarct size and water content. However, the role of CKLF1 in stroke is still unclear. The objective of the present study was to ascertain the possible roles and mechanism of CKLF1 in ischemic brain injury by applying anti-CKLF1 antibody.
Male Sprague–Dawley rats were subjected to one-hour middle cerebral artery occlusion. Antibody to CKLF1 was applied to the right cerebral ventricle immediately after reperfusion; infarct volume and neurological score were measured at 24 and 72 hours after cerebral ischemia. RT-PCR, Western blotting and ELISA were utilized to characterize the expression of adhesion molecules, inflammatory factors and MAPK signal pathways. Immunohistochemical staining and myeloperoxidase activity was used to determine the extent of neutrophil infiltration.
Treatment with anti-CKLF1 antibody significantly decreased neurological score and infarct volume in a dose-dependent manner at 24 and 72 hours after cerebral ischemia. Administration with anti-CKLF1 antibody lowered the level of inflammatory factors TNF-α, IL-1β, MIP-2 and IL-8, the expression of adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in a dose-dependent manner. The results of immunohistochemical staining and detection of MPO activity indicated that anti-CKLF1 antibody inhibited neutrophil infiltration. Further studies suggested MAPK pathways associated with neutrophil infiltration in cerebral ischemia.
Selective inhibition of CKLF1 activity significantly protects against ischemia/reperfusion injury by decreasing production of inflammatory mediators and expression of adhesion molecules, thereby reducing neutrophils recruitment to the ischemic area, possibly via inhibiting MAPK pathways. Therefore, CKLF1 may be a novel target for the treatment of stroke.
PMCID: PMC4080607  PMID: 24946684
Chemokine-like factor 1; Cerebral ischemia; Inflammation; Adhesion molecular; Neutrophil infiltration; Mitogen-activated protein kinase

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