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1.  Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in an Immature Rat Model of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2013;30(24):2066-2072.
Altered cerebral metabolism and mitochondrial function have been identified in experimental and clinical studies of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Metabolic changes detected using 1H (proton) magnetic resonance spectroscopy correlate with long-term outcomes in children after severe TBI. We previously identified early (4-h) and sustained (24-h and 7-day) abnormalities in brain metabolites after controlled cortical impact (CCI) in immature rats. The current study aimed to identify specific alterations of cerebral glucose metabolism at 24 h after TBI in immature rats. Rats (postnatal days 16–18) underwent CCI to the left parietal cortex. Sham rats underwent craniotomy only. Twenty-four hours after CCI, rats were injected (intraperitoneally) with [1,6-13C]glucose. Brains were removed, separated into hemispheres, and frozen. Metabolites were extracted with perchloric acid and analyzed using 1H and 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. TBI resulted in decreases in N-acetylaspartate in both hemispheres, compared to sham contralateral. At 24 h after TBI, there was significant decrease in the incorporation of 13C label into [3-13C]glutamate and [2-13C]glutamate in the injured brain. There were no differences in percent enrichment of [3-13C]glutamate, [4-13C]glutamate, [3-13C]glutamine, or [4-13C]glutamine. There was significantly lower percent enrichment of [2-13C]glutamate in both TBI sides and the sham craniotomy side, compared to sham contralateral. No differences were detected in enrichment of 13C glucose label in [2-13C]glutamine, [2-13C]GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), [3-13C]GABA, or [4-13C]GABA, [3-13C]lactate, or [3-13C]alanine between groups. Results suggest that overall oxidative glucose metabolism in the immature brain recovers at 24 h after TBI. Specific reductions in [2-13C]glutamate could be the result of impairments in either neuronal or astrocytic metabolism. Future studies should aim to identify pathways leading to decreased metabolism and develop cell-selective “metabolic rescue.”
PMCID: PMC3903329  PMID: 24032394
developmental brain injury; metabolism; mitochondria; NMR spectroscopy; trauma
2.  Augmentation of Normal and Glutamate-Impaired Neuronal Respiratory Capacity by Exogenous Alternative Biofuels 
Translational stroke research  2013;4(6):10.1007/s12975-013-0275-0.
Mitochondrial respiratory capacity is critical for responding to changes in neuronal energy demand. One approach toward neuroprotection is administration of alternative energy substrates (“biofuels”) to overcome brain injury-induced inhibition of glucose-based aerobic energy metabolism. This study tested the hypothesis that exogenous pyruvate, lactate, β-hydroxybutyrate, and acetyl-L-carnitine each increase neuronal respiratory capacity in vitro either in the absence of, or following transient excitotoxic glutamate receptor stimulation. Compared to the presence of 5 mM glucose alone, the addition of pyruvate, lactate, or β-hydroxybutyrate (1.0 – 10.0 mM) to either day in vitro (DIV) 14 or 7 rat cortical neurons resulted in significant, dose-dependent stimulation of respiratory capacity, measured by cell respirometry as the maximal O2 consumption rate in the presence of the respiratory uncoupler FCCP. A thirty minute exposure to 100 μM glutamate impaired respiratory capacity for DIV 14 but not DIV 7 neurons. Glutamate reduced the respiratory capacity for DIV 14 neurons with glucose alone by 25% and also reduced respiratory capacity with glucose plus pyruvate, lactate or β-hydroxybutyrate. However, respiratory capacity in glutamate-exposed neurons following pyruvate or β-hydroxybutyrate addition was still at least as high as that obtained with glucose alone in the absence of glutamate exposure. These results support the interpretation that previously observed neuroprotection by exogenous pyruvate, lactate, or β-hydroxybutyrate is at least partially mediated by their preservation of neuronal respiratory capacity.
PMCID: PMC3864688  PMID: 24323418
Excitotoxicity; energy metabolism; pyruvate; lactate; β-hydroxybutyrate; acetyl-L-carnitine; mitochondria
3.  Brain diabetic neurodegeneration segregates with low intrinsic aerobic capacity 
Diabetes leads to cognitive impairment and is associated with age-related neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thus, understanding diabetes-induced alterations in brain function is important for developing early interventions for neurodegeneration. Low-capacity runner (LCR) rats are obese and manifest metabolic risk factors resembling human “impaired glucose tolerance” or metabolic syndrome. We examined hippocampal function in aged LCR rats compared to their high-capacity runner (HCR) rat counterparts.
Hippocampal function was examined using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, unbiased stereology analysis, and a Y maze. Changes in the mitochondrial respiratory chain function and levels of hyperphosphorylated tau and mitochondrial transcriptional regulators were examined.
The levels of glutamate, myo-inositol, taurine, and choline-containing compounds were significantly increased in the aged LCR rats. We observed a significant loss of hippocampal neurons and impaired cognitive function in aged LCR rats. Respiratory chain function and activity were significantly decreased in the aged LCR rats. Hyperphosphorylated tau was accumulated within mitochondria and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1α, the NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase sirtuin 1, and mitochondrial transcription factor A were downregulated in the aged LCR rat hippocampus.
These data provide evidence of a neurodegenerative process in the hippocampus of aged LCR rats, consistent with those seen in aged-related dementing illnesses such as AD in humans. The metabolic and mitochondrial abnormalities observed in LCR rat hippocampus are similar to well-described mechanisms that lead to diabetic neuropathy and may provide an important link between cognitive and metabolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4184561  PMID: 25356430
5.  Cellular Alterations in Human Traumatic Brain Injury: Changes in Mitochondrial Morphology Reflect Regional Levels of Injury Severity 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2013;30(5):367-381.
Mitochondrial dysfunction may be central to the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and often can be recognized cytologically by changes in mitochondrial ultrastructure. This study is the first to broadly characterize and quantify mitochondrial morphologic alterations in surgically resected human TBI tissues from three contiguous cortical injury zones. These zones were designated as injury center (Near), periphery (Far), and Penumbra. Tissues from 22 patients with TBI with varying degrees of damage and time intervals from TBI to surgical tissue collection within the first week post-injury were rapidly fixed in the surgical suite and processed for electron microscopy. A large number of mitochondrial structural patterns were identified and divided into four survival categories: normal, normal reactive, reactive degenerating, and end-stage degenerating profiles. A tissue sample acquired at 38 hours post-injury was selected for detailed mitochondrial quantification, because it best exhibited the wide variation in cellular and mitochondrial changes consistently noted in all the other cases. The distribution of mitochondrial morphologic phenotypes varied significantly between the three injury zones and when compared with control cortical tissue obtained from an epilepsy lobectomy. This study is unique in its comparative quantification of the mitochondrial ultrastructural alterations at progressive distances from the center of injury in surviving TBI patients and in relation to control human cortex. These quantitative observations may be useful in guiding the translation of mitochondrial-based neuroprotective interventions to clinical implementation.
PMCID: PMC3589878  PMID: 23131111
cristae; electron microscopy; matrix; penumbra
6.  Magnesium Sulfate Protects Against the Bioenergetic Consequences of Chronic Glutamate Receptor Stimulation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79982.
Extracellular glutamate is elevated following brain ischemia or trauma and contributes to neuronal injury. We tested the hypothesis that magnesium sulfate (MgSO4, 3 mM) protects against metabolic failure caused by excitotoxic glutamate exposure. Rat cortical neuron preparations treated in medium already containing a physiological concentration of Mg2+ (1 mM) could be segregated based on their response to glutamate (100 µM). Type I preparations responded with a decrease or small transient increase in oxygen consumption rate (OCR). Type II neurons responded with >50% stimulation in OCR, indicating a robust response to increased energy demand without immediate toxicity. Pre-treatment with MgSO4 improved the initial bioenergetic response to glutamate and ameliorated subsequent loss of spare respiratory capacity, measured following addition of the uncoupler FCCP, in Type I but not Type II neurons. Spare respiratory capacity in Type I neurons was also improved by incubation with MgSO4 or NMDA receptor antagonist MK801 in the absence of glutamate treatment. This finding indicates that the major difference between Type I and Type II preparations is the amount of endogenous glutamate receptor activity. Incubation of Type II neurons with 5 µM glutamate prior to excitotoxic (100 µM) glutamate exposure recapitulated a Type I phenotype. MgSO4 protected against an excitotoxic glutamate-induced drop in neuronal ATP both with and without prior 5 µM glutamate exposure. Results indicate that MgSO4 protects against chronic moderate glutamate receptor stimulation and preserves cellular ATP following treatment with excitotoxic glutamate.
PMCID: PMC3827425  PMID: 24236167
7.  Novel mitochondrial targets for neuroprotection 
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathophysiology of acute neurologic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Bioenergetic failure is the primary cause of acute neuronal necrosis, and involves excitotoxicity-associated mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, resulting in opening of the inner membrane permeability transition pore and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial energy metabolism is also very sensitive to inhibition by reactive O2 and nitrogen species, which modify many mitochondrial proteins, lipids, and DNA/RNA, thus impairing energy transduction and exacerbating free radical production. Oxidative stress and Ca2+-activated calpain protease activities also promote apoptosis and other forms of programmed cell death, primarily through modification of proteins and lipids present at the outer membrane, causing release of proapoptotic mitochondrial proteins, which initiate caspase-dependent and caspase-independent forms of cell death. This review focuses on three classifications of mitochondrial targets for neuroprotection. The first is mitochondrial quality control, maintained by the dynamic processes of mitochondrial fission and fusion and autophagy of abnormal mitochondria. The second includes targets amenable to ischemic preconditioning, e.g., electron transport chain components, ion channels, uncoupling proteins, and mitochondrial biogenesis. The third includes mitochondrial proteins and other molecules that defend against oxidative stress. Each class of targets exhibits excellent potential for translation to clinical neuroprotection.
PMCID: PMC3390821  PMID: 22453628
biogenesis; mitophagy; Nrf2; oxidative stress; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1a; protein kinase C
8.  Diffusion Kurtosis as an In Vivo Imaging Marker for Reactive Astrogliosis in Traumatic Brain Injury 
NeuroImage  2011;59(1):467-477.
Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) provides quantifiable information on the non-Gaussian behavior of water diffusion in biological tissue. Changes in water diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters and DKI parameters in several white and grey matter regions were investigated in a mild controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury rat model at both the acute (2 hours) and the sub-acute (7 days) stages following injury. Mixed model ANOVA analysis revealed significant changes in temporal patterns of both DTI and DKI parameters in the cortex, hippocampus, external capsule and corpus callosum. Post-hoc tests indicated acute changes in mean diffusivity (MD) in the bilateral cortex and hippocampus (p < 0.0005) and fractional anisotropy (FA) in ipsilateral cortex (p < 0.0005), hippocampus (p = 0.014), corpus callosum (p = 0.031) and contralateral external capsule (p = 0.011). These changes returned to baseline by the sub-acute stage. However, mean kurtosis (MK) was significantly elevated at the sub-acute stages in all ipsilateral regions and scaled inversely with the distance from the impacted site (cortex and corpus callosum: p < 0.0005; external capsule: p = 0.003; hippocampus: p = 0.011). Further, at the sub-acute stage increased MK was also observed in the contralateral regions compared to baseline (cortex: p = 0.032; hippocampus: p = 0.039) while no change was observed with MD and FA. An increase in mean kurtosis was associated with increased reactive astrogliosis from immunohistochemistry analysis. Our results suggest that DKI is sensitive to microstructural changes associated with reactive astrogliosis which may be missed by standard DTI parameters alone. Monitoring changes in MK allows the investigation of molecular and morphological changes in vivo due to reactive astrogliosis and may complement information available from standard DTI parameters. To date the use of diffusion tensor imaging has been limited to study changes in white matter integrity following traumatic insults. Given the sensitivity of DKI to detect microstructural changes even in the gray matter in vivo, allows the extension of the technique to understand patho-morphological changes in the whole brain following a traumatic insult.
PMCID: PMC3614502  PMID: 21835250
Magnetic Resonance Imaging; diffusion tensor imaging; diffusion kurtosis imaging; traumatic brain injury; astrogliosis; rat brain
9.  Quantitative Imaging of Mitochondrial and Cytosolic Free Zinc Levels in an in vitro Model of Ischemia/Reperfusion 
The role of zinc ion in cytotoxicity following ischemic stroke, prolonged status epilepticus, and traumatic brain injury remains controversial, but likely is the result of mitochondrial dysfunction. We describe an excitation ratiometric fluorescence biosensor based on human carbonic anhydrase II variants expressed in the mitochondrial matrix, permitting free zinc levels to be quantitatively imaged therein. We observed an average mitochondrial matrix free zinc concentration of 0.2 pM in the PC12 rat pheochromacytoma cell culture line. Cytoplasmic and mitochondrial free zinc levels were imaged in a cellular oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) model of ischemia/reperfusion. We observed a significant increase in mitochondrial zinc 1 hr following 3 hr OGD, at a time point when cytosolic zinc levels were depressed. Following the increase, mitochondrial zinc levels returned to physiological levels, while cytosolic zinc increased gradually over a 24 hr time period in viable cells. The increase in intramitochondrial zinc observed during reoxygenation after OGD may contribute to bioenergetic dysfunction and cell death that occurs with both in vitro and in vivo models of reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC3539817  PMID: 22430627
zinc; oxidative stress; mitochondria; ischemia; stroke; fluorescence biosensor; ratiometric; carbonic anhydrase II
10.  Sulforaphane Inhibits Mitochondrial Permeability Transition and Oxidative Stress 
Free radical biology & medicine  2011;51(12):2164-2171.
Exposure of mitochondria to oxidative stress and elevated Ca2+ promotes opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP), resulting in membrane depolarization, uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation, and potentially cell death. This study tested the hypothesis that treatment of rats with sulforaphane (SFP), an activator of the Nrf2 pathway of antioxidant gene expression, increases the resistance of liver mitochondria to redox-regulated PTP opening and elevates mitochondrial levels of antioxidants. Rats were injected with SFP or drug vehicle and liver mitochondria were isolated 40 hr later. Respiring mitochondria actively accumulated added Ca2+, which was then released through PTP opening induced by agents that either cause an oxidized shift in the mitochondrial redox state or that directly oxidize protein thiol groups. SFP treatment of rats inhibited the rate of pro-oxidant-induced mitochondrial Ca2+ release and increased expression of the glutathione peroxidase/reductase system, thioredoxin, and malic enzyme. These results are the first to demonstrate that SFP treatment of animals increases liver mitochondrial antioxidant defenses and inhibits redox-sensitive PTP opening. This novel form of preconditioning could protect against a variety of pathologies that include oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in their etiologies.
PMCID: PMC3278304  PMID: 21986339
11.  Effects of FK506 and Cyclosporin A on Calcium Ionophore-Induced Mitochondrial Depolarization and Cytosolic Calcium in Astrocytes and Neurons 
Journal of neuroscience research  2011;89(12):1973-1978.
This study tested the hypothesis that sensitivity to the Ca2+-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and the sensitivity of the loss of ΔΨ to mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP) inhibitors are different for neurons and astrocytes. Primary cultures of rat cortical neurons and astrocytes were exposed to the Ca2+ ionophore 4-Br-A23187 and ΔΨm was monitored with the fluorescent probe tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM). Ca2+ ionophore caused a decline in ΔΨm in both cell types that was partially inhibited by cyclosporin A (CsA) in astrocytes but not in neurons. Another PTP inhibitor, 2-aminoethoxy-diphenylborate, was ineffective at protecting against mitochondrial depolarization but depolarization was inhibited by FK506, an immunosuppressant drug similar to CsA that does not inhibit the PTP. CsA and FK506 both significantly reduced the ionophore-induced rise in [Ca2+]i in both neurons and astrocytes. We conclude that the protective effects of CsA and FK506 against Ca2+ ionophore-induced mitochondrial membrane depolarization in intact astrocytes is not due to PTP inhibition but is possibly a consequence of inhibiting the rise in [Ca2+]i.
PMCID: PMC3191300  PMID: 21748780
Permeability transition pore; immunophilin; TMRM; calcium homeostasis; mitochondria; 4-Br-A23187
12.  Early Microstructural and Metabolic Changes following Controlled Cortical Impact Injury in Rat: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Study 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2011;28(10):2091-2102.
Understanding tissue alterations at an early stage following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is critical for injury management and limiting severe consequences from secondary injury. We investigated the early microstructural and metabolic profiles using in vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) at 2 and 4 h following a controlled cortical impact injury in the rat brain using a 7.0 Tesla animal MRI system and compared profiles to baseline. Significant decrease in mean diffusivity (MD) and increased fractional anisotropy (FA) was found near the impact site (hippocampus and bilateral thalamus; p<0.05) immediately following TBI, suggesting cytotoxic edema. Although the DTI parameters largely normalized on the contralateral side by 4 h, a large inter-individual variation was observed with a trend towards recovery of MD and FA in the ipsilateral hippocampus and a sustained elevation of FA in the ipsilateral thalamus (p<0.05). Significant reduction in metabolite to total creatine ratios of N-acetylaspartate (NAA, p=0.0002), glutamate (p=0.0006), myo-inositol (Ins, p=0.04), phosphocholine and glycerophosphocholine (PCh+GPC, p=0.03), and taurine (Tau, p=0.009) were observed ipsilateral to the injury as early as 2 h, while glutamine concentration increased marginally (p=0.07). These metabolic alterations remained sustained over 4 h after TBI. Significant reductions of Ins (p=0.024) and Tau (p=0.013) and marginal reduction of NAA (p=0.06) were also observed on the contralateral side at 4 h after TBI. Overall our findings suggest significant microstructural and metabolic alterations as early as 2 h following injury. The tendency towards normalization at 4 h from the DTI data and no further metabolic changes at 4 h from MRS suggest an optimal temporal window of about 3 h for interventions that might limit secondary damage to the brain. Results indicate that early assessment of TBI patients using DTI and MRS may provide valuable information on the available treatment window to limit secondary brain damage.
PMCID: PMC3191366  PMID: 21761962
controlled cortical impact; diffusion tensor imaging; early changes; MR spectroscopy; traumatic brain injury
13.  Neuroprotection by Acetyl-l-Carnitine after Traumatic Injury to the Immature Rat Brain 
Developmental Neuroscience  2011;32(5-6):480-487.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and is characterized by reduced aerobic cerebral energy metabolism early after injury, possibly due to impaired activity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Exogenous acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) is metabolized in the brain to acetyl coenzyme A and subsequently enters the tricarboxylic acid cycle. ALCAR administration is neuroprotective in animal models of cerebral ischemia and spinal cord injury, but has not been tested for TBI. This study tested the hypothesis that treatment with ALCAR during the first 24 h following TBI in immature rats improves neurologic outcome and reduces cortical lesion volume. Postnatal day 21–22 male rats were isoflurane anesthetized and used in a controlled cortical impact model of TBI to the left parietal cortex. At 1, 4, 12 and 23 h after injury, rats received ALCAR (100 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or drug vehicle (normal saline). On days 3–7 after surgery, behavior was assessed using beam walking and novel object recognition tests. On day 7, rats were transcardially perfused and brains were harvested for histological assessment of cortical lesion volume, using stereology. Injured animals displayed a significant increase in foot slips compared to sham-operated rats (6 ± 1 SEM vs. 2 ± 0.2 on day 3 after trauma; n = 7; p < 0.05). The ALCAR-treated rats were not different from shams and had fewer foot slips compared to vehicle-treated animals (2 ± 0.4; n = 7; p< 0.05). The frequency of investigating a novel object for saline-treated TBI animals was reduced compared to shams (45 ± 5% vs. 65 ± 10%; n = 7; p < 0.05), whereas the frequency of investigation for TBI rats treated with ALCAR was not significantly different from that of shams but significantly higher than that of saline-treated TBI rats (68 ± 7; p < 0.05). The left parietal cortical lesion volume, expressed as a percentage of the volume of tissue in the right hemisphere, was significantly smaller in ALCAR-treated than in vehicle-treated TBI rats (14 ± 5% vs. 28 ± 6%; p < 0.05). We conclude that treatment with ALCAR during the first 24 h after TBI improves behavioral outcomes and reduces brain lesion volume in immature rats within the first 7 days after injury.
PMCID: PMC3073762  PMID: 21228558
Controlled cortical impact; Sensorimotor function; Memory; Hippocampus; Acetyl-l-carnitine; Neuroprotection; Novel object recognition
14.  Brain mitochondria from rats treated with sulforaphane are resistant to redox-regulated permeability transition 
Oxidative stress promotes Ca2+-dependent opening of the mitochondrial inner membrane permeability transition pore (PTP), causing bioenergetic failure and subsequent cell death in many paradigms, including those related to acute brain injury. One approach to preconditioning against oxidative stress is pharmacologic activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway of antioxidant gene expression by agents such as sulforaphane (SFP). This study tested the hypothesis that administration of SFP to normal rats increases resistance of isolated brain mitochondria to redox-sensitive PTP opening. SFP or DMSO vehicle was administered intraperitoneally to adult male rats at 10 mg/kg 40 h prior to isolation of non-synaptic brain mitochondria. Mitochondria were suspended in medium containing a respiratory substrate and were exposed to an addition of Ca2+ below the threshold for PTP opening. Subsequent addition of tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBOOH) resulted in a cyclosporin A-inhibitable release of accumulated Ca2+ into the medium, as monitored by an increase in fluorescence of Calcium Green 5N within the medium, and was preceded by a decrease in the autofluorescence of mitochondrial NAD(P)H. SFP treatment significantly reduced the rate of tBOOH-induced Ca2+ release but did not affect NAD(P)H oxidation or inhibit PTP opening induced by the addition of phenylarsine oxide, a direct sulfhydryl oxidizing agent. SFP treatment had no effect on respiration by brain mitochondria and had no effect on PTP opening or respiration when added directly to isolated mitochondria. We conclude that SFP confers resistance of brain mitochondria to redox-regulated PTP opening, which could contribute to neuroprotection observed with SFP.
PMCID: PMC3040633  PMID: 21061051
Nrf2; Calcium; Peroxide; Pyridine nucleotide; Oxidation/reduction
15.  Dietary Supplementation with Docosahexaenoic Acid, but Not Eicosapentanoic Acid, Dramatically Alters Cardiac Mitochondrial Phospholipid Fatty Acid Composition and Prevents Permeability Transition 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1797(8):1555-1562.
Treatment with the ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) exerts cardioprotective effects, and suppresses Ca2+-induced opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). These effects are associated with increased DHA and EPA, and lower arachidonic acid (ARA) in cardiac phospholipids. While clinical studies suggest the triglyceride lowering effects of DHA and EPA are equivalent, little is known about the independent effects of DHA and EPA on mitochondria function. We compared the effects of dietary supplementation with the ω-3 PUFAs DHA and EPA on cardiac mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acid composition and Ca2+-induced MPTP opening. Rats were fed a standard lab diet with either normal low levels of ω-3 PUFA, or DHA or EPA at 2.5% of energy intake for 8 weeks, and cardiac mitochondria were isolated and analyzed for Ca2+-induced MPTP opening and phospholipid fatty acyl composition. DHA supplementation increased both DHA and EPA and decreased ARA in mitochondrial phospholipid, and significantly delayed MPTP opening as assessed by increased Ca2+ retention capacity and decreased Ca2+-induced mitochondria swelling. EPA supplementation increased EPA in mitochondrial phospholipids, but did not affect DHA, only modestly lowered ARA, and did not affect MPTP opening. In summary, dietary supplementation with DHA but not EPA, profoundly altered mitochondrial phospholipid fatty acid composition and delayed Ca2+-induced MPTP opening.
PMCID: PMC3071681  PMID: 20471951
cardiac; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; fish oil; heart; mitochondrial permeability transition pore
16.  Mitochondrial mechanisms of cell death and neuroprotection in pediatric ischemic and traumatic brain injury 
Experimental neurology  2009;218(2):371-380.
There are several forms of acute pediatric brain injury, including neonatal asphyxia, pediatric cardiac arrest with global ischemia, and head trauma, that result in devastating, lifelong neurologic impairment. The only clinical intervention that appears neuroprotective is hypothermia initiated soon after the initial injury. Evidence indicates that oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and impaired cerebral energy metabolism contribute to the brain cell death that is responsible for much of the poor neurologic outcome from these events. Recent results obtained from both in vitro and animal models of neuronal death in the immature brain point toward several molecular mechanisms that are either induced or promoted by oxidative modification of macromolecules, including consumption of cytosolic and mitochondrial NAD+ by poly-ADP ribose polymerase, opening of the mitochondrial inner membrane permeability transition pore, and inactivation of key, rate-limiting metabolic enzymes, e.g., the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. In addition, the relative abundance of pro-apoptotic proteins in immature brains and neurons, and particularly within their mitochondria, predisposes these cells to the intrinsic, mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, mediated by Bax- or Bak-triggered release of proteins into the cytosol through the mitochondrial outer membrane. Based on these pathways of cell dysfunction and death, several approaches toward neuroprotection are being investigated that show promise toward clinical translation. These strategies include minimizing oxidative stress by avoiding unnecessary hyperoxia, promoting aerobic energy metabolism by repletion of NAD+ and by providing alternative oxidative fuels, e.g., ketone bodies, directly interfering with apoptotic pathways at the mitochondrial level, and pharmacologic induction of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3096876  PMID: 19427308
Metabolism; Calcium; Permeability transition pore; poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; Reactive oxygen species; Pyruvate dehydrogenase; Cytochrome c; Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
17.  Sulforaphane protects immature hippocampal neurons against death caused by exposure to hemin or to oxygen and glucose-deprivation 
Journal of neuroscience research  2010;88(6):1355-1363.
Oxidative stress is a mediator of cell death following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion and heme toxicity which can be an important pathogenic factor in acute brain injury. Induced expression of Phase II detoxification enzymes through activation of the anti-oxidant response element (ARE)/Nrf2 pathway has emerged as a promising approach for neuroprotection. Little is known, however, about the neuroprotective potential of this strategy against injury immature brain cells. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that sulforaphane (SFP), a naturally occurring isothiocyanate that is also a known activator of the ARE/Nrf2 antioxidant pathway, can protect immature neurons from oxidative stress-induced death. The hypothesis was tested with primary mouse hippocampal neurons exposed to either O2 and glucose deprivation (OGD) or hemin. Treatment of immature neurons with SFP immediately after the OGD during reoxygenation was effective at protecting immature neurons from delayed cell death. Exposure of immature hippocampal neurons to hemin induced significant cell death and both pre- and co-treatment with SFP were remarkably effective at blocking cytotoxicity. RT-PCR analysis indicated that several Nrf2-dependent cytoprotective genes, including NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), heme oxygenase 1 (HO1) and glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit (GCLM) that is involved in glutathione biosynthesis, were upregulated following SFP treatment both in control neurons and following exposure to OGD and hemin. These results indicate that SFP activates the ARE/Nrf2 pathway of antioxidant defense and protects immature neurons from death caused by stress paradigms relevant to those associated with ischemic and traumatic injury to the immature brain.
PMCID: PMC3037525  PMID: 19998483
Nrf2; oxidative stress; ischemia/reperfusion; hemin; hippocampus
18.  Hyperoxic Reperfusion after Global Cerebral Ischemia Promotes Inflammation and Long-Term Hippocampal Neuronal Death 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2010;27(4):753-762.
In this study we tested the hypothesis that long-term neuropathological outcome is worsened by hyperoxic compared to normoxic reperfusion in a rat global cerebral ischemia model. Adult male rats were anesthetized and subjected to bilateral carotid arterial occlusion plus bleeding hypotension for 10 min. The rats were randomized to one of four protocols: ischemia/normoxia (21% oxygen for 1 h), ischemia/hyperoxia (100% oxygen for 1 h), sham/normoxia, and sham/hyperoxia. Hippocampal CA1 neuronal survival and activation of microglia and astrocytes were measured in the hippocampi of the animals at 7 and 30 days post-ischemia. Morris water maze testing of memory was performed on days 23–30. Compared to normoxic reperfusion, hyperoxic ventilation resulted in a significant decrease in normal-appearing neurons at 7 and 30 days, and increased activation of microglia and astrocytes at 7, but not at 30, days of reperfusion. Behavioral deficits were also observed following hyperoxic, but not normoxic, reperfusion. We conclude that early post-ischemic hyperoxic reperfusion is followed by greater hippocampal neuronal death and cellular inflammatory reactions compared to normoxic reperfusion. The results of these long-term outcome studies, taken together with previously published results from short-term experiments performed with large animals, support the hypothesis that neurological outcome can be improved by avoiding hyperoxic resuscitation after global cerebral ischemia such as that which accompanies cardiac arrest.
PMCID: PMC2867550  PMID: 20059303
astrocyte; cardiac arrest; hippocampus; microglia; Morris water maze; resuscitation
19.  Visualization and quantification of NAD(H) in brain sections by a novel histo-enzymatic nitrotetrazolium blue staining technique 
Brain research  2009;1316C:112.
A histo-enzymatic technique for visualizing and quantifying endogenous NAD(H) in brain tissue was developed, based on coupled enzymatic cycling reactions that reduce nitrotetrazolium blue chloride to produce formazan. Conditions were used where the endogenous level of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides (NAD(H)) was the rate limiting factor for formazan production. Spontaneous degradation of NAD+ that occurs during incubation of thawed tissue was minimized by the addition of nicotinamide mononucleotide, an inhibitor of NAD+ glycohydrolases. Cryostat sections of brains obtained from rats immediately after decapitation and at 30 min later were used to determine the effects of ischemia alone on brain NAD(H) levels and neuroanatomic distribution. The ischemic insult resulted in a greater than 50% decline in the rate of formazan generation in the CA1 pyramidal neuronal layer of the hippocampus and in the parietal cortex and striatum, but not in the CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) subregions of the hippocampus. The ischemia-induced changes in NAD(H) levels were confirmed by utilizing spectrofluorimetric measurements of NAD(H) present in perchloric acid extracts of brain samples. This new histo-enzymatic technique is suitable for visualizing and quantifying relative NAD(H) levels in the brain. This assay could prove useful in identifying region-selective NAD(H) catabolism that may contribute to neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC2822014  PMID: 20036220
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides; Nitrotetrazolium blue chloride; Formazan; Histo-enzymatic; Cerebral ischemia; Cryostat brain sections
20.  Postischemic Oxidative Stress Promotes Mitochondrial Metabolic Failure in Neurons and Astrocytes 
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been closely associated in many subcellular, cellular, animal, and human studies of both acute brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Our animal models of brain injury caused by cardiac arrest illustrate this relationship and demonstrate that both oxidative molecular modifications and mitochondrial metabolic impairment are exacerbated by reoxygenation of the brain using 100% ventilatory O2 compared to lower levels that maintain normoxemia. Numerous molecular mechanisms may be responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction caused by oxidative stress, including oxidation and inactivation of mitochondrial proteins, promotion of the mitochondrial membrane permeability transition, and consumption of metabolic cofactors and intermediates, e.g., NAD(H). Moreover, the relative contribution of these mechanisms to cell injury and death is likely different among different types of brain cells, e.g., neurons and astrocytes. In order to better understand these oxidative stress mechanisms and their relevance to neurologic disorders, we have undertaken studies with primary cultures of astrocytes and neurons exposed to O2 and glucose deprivation and reoxygenation and compared the results of these studies to those using a rat model of neonatal asphyxic brain injury. These results support the hypothesis that release and or consumption of mitochondrial NAD(H) is at least partially responsible for respiratory inhibition, particularly in neurons.
PMCID: PMC3040634  PMID: 19076438
pyruvate dehydrogenase; respiration; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
21.  Dietary ω-3 Fatty Acids Alter Cardiac Mitochondrial Phospholipid Composition and Delay Ca2+-Induced Permeability Transition 
Consumption of ω-3 fatty acids from fish oil, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), decreases risk for heart failure and attenuates pathologic cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload. Dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA may also impact cardiac mitochondrial function and energetics through alteration of membrane phospholipids. We assessed the role of EPA+DHA supplementation on left ventricular (LV) function, cardiac mitochondrial membrane phospholipid composition, respiration, and sensitivity to mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening in normal and infarcted myocardium. Rats were subjected to sham surgery or myocardial infarction by coronary artery ligation (n=10–14), and fed a standard diet, or supplemented with EPA+DHA (2.3% of energy intake) for 12 weeks. EPA+DHA altered fatty acid composition of total mitochondrial phospholipids and cardiolipin by reducing arachidonic acid content and increasing DHA incorporation. EPA+DHA significantly increased calcium uptake capacity in both subsarcolemmal and intrafibrillar mitochondria from sham rats. This treatment effect persisted with the addition of cyclosporin A, and was not accompanied by changes in mitochondrial respiration or coupling, or cyclophilin D protein expression. Myocardial infarction resulted in heart failure as evidenced by LV dilation and contractile dysfunction. Infarcted LV myocardium had decreased mitochondrial protein yield and activity of mitochondrial marker enzymes, however respiratory function of isolated mitochondria was normal. EPA+DHA had no effect on LV function, mitochondrial respiration, or MPTP opening in rats with heart failure. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with EPA+DHA altered mitochondrial membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition in normal and infarcted hearts, but delayed MPTP opening only in normal hearts.
PMCID: PMC2783943  PMID: 19703463
eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; myocardial infarction; mitochondrial permeability transition pore
22.  Delayed cerebral oxidative glucose metabolism after traumatic brain injury in young rats 
Journal of neurochemistry  2009;109(Suppl 1):189-197.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a cerebral metabolic crisis that contributes to poor neurologic outcome. The aim of this study was to characterized changes in oxidative glucose metabolism in early periods after injury in the brains of immature animals. At 5 hours after controlled cortical impact TBI or sham surgery to the left cortex, 21-22 day old rats were injected intraperitoneally with [1,6-13C]glucose and brains removed 15 min, 30 min and 60 min later and studied by ex vivo 13C-NMR spectroscopy. Oxidative metabolism, determined by incorporation of 13C into glutamate, glutamine and GABA over 15 to 60 min, was significantly delayed in both hemispheres of brain from TBI rats. The most striking delay was in labeling of the C4 position of glutamate from neuronal metabolism of glucose in injured, ipsilateral hemisphere which peaked at 60 min, compared to the contralateral and sham-operated brains, where metabolism peaked at 30 and 15 min, respectively. Our findings indicate that 1) neuronal specific oxidative metabolism of glucose at 5-6h after TBI is delayed in both injured and contralateral sides compared to sham brain; 2) labeling from metabolism of glucose via the pyruvate carboxylase pathway in astrocytes was also initially delayed in both sides of TBI brain compared to sham brain; 3) despite this delayed incorporation, at 6 hours after TBI, both sides of brain showed apparent increased neuronal and glial metabolism, reflecting accumulation of labeled metabolites, suggesting impaired malate aspartate shuttle activity. The presence of delayed metabolism, followed by accumulation of labeled compounds is evidence of severe alterations in homeostasis that could impair mitochondrial metabolism in both ipsilateral and contralateral sides of brain after TBI. However, ongoing oxidative metabolism in mitochondria in injured brain suggests that there is a window of opportunity for therapeutic intervention up to at least 6 hrs after injury.
PMCID: PMC2692097  PMID: 19393027
traumatic brain injury; immature brain; glucose; metabolism; 13C NMR spectroscopy; PDHC; PC; glutamate; GABA
23.  Sulforaphane Protects Astrocytes against Oxidative Stress and Delayed Death Caused by Oxygen and Glucose Deprivation 
Glia  2009;57(6):645-656.
Oxidative stress is an important molecular mechanism of astrocyte injury and death following ischemia reperfusion and may be an effective target of intervention. One therapeutic strategy for detoxifying the many different reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that are produced under these conditions is induction of the Phase II gene response by the use of chemicals or conditions that promote the translocation of the transcriptional activating factor NRF2 from the cytosol to the nucleus, where it binds to genomic antioxidant response elements. This study tested the hypothesis that pre- or post-treatment of cultured cortical astrocytes with sulforaphane, an alkylating agent known to activate the NRF2 pathway of gene expression protects against death of astrocytes caused by transient exposure to O2 and glucose deprivation (OGD). Rat cortical astrocytes were exposed to 5 μM sulforaphane either 48 hr prior to, or for 48 hr after a 4 hr period of OGD. Both pre- and post-treatments significantly reduced cell death at 48 hr after OGD. Immunostaining for 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, a marker of DNA/RNA oxidation, was reduced at 4 hr reoxygenation with sulforaphane pretreatment. Sulforaphane exposure was followed by an increase in cellular and nuclear NRF2 immunoreactivity. Moreover, sulforaphane also increased the mRNA, protein level, and enzyme activity of NADPH/Quinone Oxidoreductase 1, a known target of NRF2 transcriptional activation. We conclude that sulforaphane stimulates the NRF2 pathway of antioxidant gene expression in astrocytes and protects them from cell death in an in vitro model of ischemia/reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC2657190  PMID: 18942756
Ischemia/Reperfusion; NRF2; NQO1; Oxidative stress; 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine
24.  Cyclophilin D is predominantly expressed in mitochondria of GABAergic interneurons 
Journal of neuroscience research  2009;87(5):1250-1259.
Brain mitochondria are relatively resistant to calcium-induced mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) with heterogenic response to the insult. Since the cause for this heterogeneity is not clear we studied the distribution of a key regulator of the MPT, cyclophilin D (cypD) within the rat brain by using immunohistology and western blotting. Motor and parietal cortex, hippocampus, striatum, substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, septum, and mammillary nucleus displayed a strong immunoreactivity to cypD within specific subpopulation of neurons. The staining was punctate and intense particularly in perinuclear regions of cells. Apart from neurons, a subpopulation of astrocytes and NG2 positive cells showed higher cypD immunoreactivity. The double staining of cypD with cytochrome oxidase confirmed the mitochondrial specificity of cypD immunoreactivity. The neurons with high levels of cypD also expressed glutamate decarboxylase (GABA) and the calcium binding protein parvalbumin or calbinding D-28k, identifying these cells as interneurons. Western blots confirmed our immunohistochemical findings showing significantly higher levels of cypD in crude mitochondria of substantia nigra when compared to cortex or striatum. Furthermore, nonsynaptic mitochondria representing mainly mitochondria from cell bodies of neurons and glia have about 16 % higher levels of cypD when compared to synaptic mitochondria that are localized in pre-synaptic buttons. These data suggest that the underlying factor of heterogenic response of isolated brain mitochondria to MPT-inducing insults can be the different expression levels of cypD with mitochondria originated from interneurons as the most sensitive.
PMCID: PMC2650012  PMID: 18951528
cyclophilin D; calcium-binding proteins; interneurons; mitochondria; brain
Neurotoxicology  2009;30(2):274-280.
Pesticide exposure has been suggested as an increased risk factor in developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). While the molecular mechanism underlying this association is not clear, several studies have demonstrated a role for mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in PD. Although data on specific pesticides associated with PD are often lacking, several lines of evidence point to the potential involvement of the organochlorine class of pesticides. Previously, we have found that the organochlorine pesticide methoxychlor (mxc) causes mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in isolated mitochondria. Here, we sought to determine whether mxc-induced mitochondrial dysfunction results in oxidative damage and dysfunction of the dopamine system. Adult female CD1 mice were dosed with either vehicle (sesame oil) or mxc (16, 32, or 64 mg/kg/day) for 20 consecutive days. Following treatment, we observed a dose-related increase in protein carbonyl levels in non-synaptic mitochondria, indicating oxidative modification of mitochondrial proteins which may lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. Mxc exposure also caused a dose-related decrease in striatal levels of dopamine (16–31%), which were accompanied by decreased levels of the dopamine transporter (DAT; 35–48%) and the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2; 21–44%). Because mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative damage, and decreased levels of DAT and VMAT2 are found in PD patients, our data suggests that mxc should be investigated as a possible candidate involved in the association of pesticides with increased risk for PD, particularly in highly-exposed populations.
PMCID: PMC2768373  PMID: 19459224
Methoxychlor; Parkinson’s disease; dopamine; complex I; mitochondria; neurodegeneration; dopamine transporter; vesicular monoamine transporter 2; oxidative stress

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