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1.  Simple model of forebrain ischemia in mouse 
Journal of Neuroscience Methods  2011;204(2):254-261.
The availability of genetically engineered mice allows unraveling the role of specific proteins in mechanisms of ischemic brain injury. Due to the high variability of their vascular anatomy, mouse models of global cerebral ischemia are rather complex. In the present study, we describe a simple model of mouse forebrain ischemia where the bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCO) is combined with isoflurane-induced hypotension. The forebrain ischemia was induced by BCCO that was preceded by increase of the isoflurane level from 1.5% to 5% in the respiratory gases. This caused a decrease of the mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) to about 30 mmHg and the cerebral blood flow dropped to 5% of the control after the BCCO. During the 10 min ischemic period both MABP and CBF remained stable and the reperfusion was induced by reducing the isoflurane level to 0% followed by removal of the carotid clamps. Mice were allowed 1, 2, 3 or 5 days survival followed by histologic analysis. The number of CA1 uninjured neurons was assessed utilizing a stereological approach.
Neurodegeneration was observed at two days after the onset of reperfusion. At 3 days of recovery, about 40% of neurons survived and the cell death did not further increase at 5 days. Degenerative neurons were also detected in the striatum and sporadically in the cortex. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using the described model in mice that can be utilized to examine the effect of new neuroprotective compounds or use transgenic animals to test new hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC3273657  PMID: 22146544
mouse; global cerebral ischemia; model; hypotension; isoflurane; cell death
2.  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
3.  Isolation of mitochondria from CNS 
This unit contains a protocol describing the isolation of brain mitochondria by using discontinuous Percoll gradient centrifugation. The Percoll density gradient centrifugation separates synaptosomes, myelin, and free non-synaptic mitochondria released from cells during tissue homogenization into individual fractions. Mitochondria entrapped in synaptosomes (synaptic mitochondria) can be liberated using nitrogen cavitation and then further purified by Percoll gradient centrifugation. These methods yield mitochondria that exhibit good respiratory coupling and high respiratory rates.
PMCID: PMC2908900  PMID: 20578034
brain; synaptosomes; non-synaptic; mitochondria; Percoll
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  The IFN-β and Retinoic Acid-Induced Cell Death Regulator GRIM-19 Is Upregulated During Focal Cerebral Ischemia 
The induction of GRIM-19 has been shown to be essential for interferon-β (IFN-β)-induced and retinoic acid (RA)-induced tumor cell death. We have studied the localization and levels of GRIM-19 in IFN/RA-induced cell death in neural cells and in focal cerebral ischemia. Exposure to IFN/RA caused a ~15-fold increase in GRIM-19 protein levels and induced >50% cell death in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. In rats subjected to permanent focal cerebral ischemia, increased oxidative stress, as well as increased GRIM mRNA levels (32-fold) and increased GRIM-19 (>50%) protein levels were noted in the ipsilateral (affected) hemisphere compared with the contralateral (unaffected) hemisphere. These results suggest that GRIM-19 may play a role in ischemia-induced neuronal cell death.
PMCID: PMC2597162  PMID: 17523870
9.  Neuron-Specific Conditional Expression of a Mitochondrially Targeted Fluorescent Protein in Mice 
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathophysiology of both acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. Quantification of mitochondrial bioenergetic properties generally requires the use of isolated brain mitochondria. However, the involvement of neuronal mitochondrial dysfunction in these disorders is limited by the lack of markers, and therefore isolation procedures, that distinguish neuronal compared with astrocyte mitochondria. To address this and other issues concerning neuronal mitochondria in the CNS, transgenic mice were generated that express a fluorescent protein targeted specifically to neurons. A neuron-specific promoter, CaMKIIα (calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase IIα) driven tTA (tetracycline transactivator) mice were crossed with TRE (tetracycline responsive element) driven mitochondrial targeted enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) mice. Expression of eYFP in the bigenic mouse brain was observed only in neuronal mitochondria of striatum, forebrain, and hippocampus and was enhanced by the removal of the tetracycline analog doxycycline (Dox) in the diet. The respiratory control ratio of synaptic and nonsynaptic mitochondria isolated from eYFP-expressing mice was the same as control mice, suggesting that neuronal mitochondria expressing eYFP maintain normal bioenergetic functions. More importantly, the development of Dox-inducible, neuron targeted mito/eYFP transgenic mice offer a unique in vivo model for delineating the participation of neuronal mitochondria in neuronal survival and death.
PMCID: PMC2572759  PMID: 17182763
cortex; hippocampus; neuron; mitochondria; transgenic; mice; eYFP; tetracycline; respiration; neurodegeneration; energy metabolism
10.  Postischemic hyperoxia reduces hippocampal pyruvate dehydrogenase activity 
Free radical biology & medicine  2006;40(11):1960-1970.
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDHC) is a mitochondrial matrix enzyme that catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and represents the sole bridge between anaerobic and aerobic cerebral energy metabolism. Previous studies demonstrating loss of PDHC enzyme activity and immunoreactivity during reperfusion after cerebral ischemia suggest that oxidative modifications are involved. This study tested the hypothesis that hyperoxic reperfusion exacerbates loss of PDHC enzyme activity, possibly due to tyrosine nitration or S-nitrosation. We used a clinically relevant canine ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest model in which, after resuscitation and ventilation on either 100% O2 (hyperoxic) or 21–30% O2 (normoxic), animals were sacrificed at 2 h reperfusion and the brains removed for enzyme activity and immunoreactivity measurements. Animals resuscitated under hyperoxic conditions exhibited decreased PDHC activity and elevated 3-nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity in the hippocampus but not the cortex, compared to nonischemic controls. These measures were unchanged in normoxic animals. In vitro exposure of purified PDHC to peroxynitrite resulted in a dose-dependent loss of activity and increased nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity. These results support the hypothesis that oxidative stress contributes to loss of hippocampal PDHC activity during cerebral ischemia and reperfusion and suggest that PDHC is a target of peroxynitrite.
PMCID: PMC2570699  PMID: 16716897
Mitochondria; Hyperoxia; Nitrotyrosine; Normoxia; Oxidative stress; Global ischemia; Selective vulnerability; Free radicals
11.  Mechanisms of Impaired Mitochondrial Energy Metabolism in Acute and Chronic Neurodegenerative Disorders 
Journal of neuroscience research  2007;85(15):3407-3415.
Altered mitochondrial energy metabolism contributes to the pathophysiology of acute brain injury caused by ischemia, trauma, and neurotoxins and by chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Although much evidence supports that the electron transport chain dysfunction in these metabolic abnormalities has both genetic and intracellular environmental causes, alternative mechanisms are being explored. These include direct, reversible inhibition of cytochrome oxidase by nitric oxide, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c, oxidative inhibition of mitochondrial matrix dehydrogenases and adenine nucleotide transport, the availability of NAD for dehydrogenase reactions, respiratory uncoupling by activities such as that of the permeability transition pore, and altered mitochondrial structure and intracellular trafficking. This review focuses on the catabolism of neuronal NAD and the release of neuronal mitochondrial NAD as important contributors to metabolic dysfunction. In addition, the relationship between apoptotic signaling cascades and disruption of mitochondrial energy metabolism is considered in light of the fine balance between apoptotic and necrotic neural cell death.
PMCID: PMC2570316  PMID: 17847081
PARP-1; nitric oxide; calcium; apoptosis; mitochondrial permeability transition
12.  Calcium-induced precipitate formation in brain mitochondria: composition, calcium capacity, and retention 
Journal of neurochemistry  2007;102(4):1346-1356.
Both isolated brain mitochondria and mitochondria in intact neurons are capable of accumulating large amounts of calcium, which leads to formation in the matrix of calcium- and phosphorus-rich precipitates, the chemical composition of which is largely unknown. Here, we have used inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) to determine how the amount and rate of mitochondrial calcium uptake relate to mitochondrial morphology, precipitate composition, and precipitate retention. Using isolated rat brain (RBM) or liver mitochondria (RLM) Ca2+-loaded by continuous cation infusion, precipitate composition was measured in situ in parallel with Ca2+ uptake and mitochondrial swelling. In RBM, the endogenous MPT inhibitors adenosine 5′-diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) increased mitochondrial Ca2+ loading capacity and facilitated formation of precipitates. In the presence of ADP, the Ca/P ratio approached 1.5, while ATP or reduced infusion rates decreased this ratio towards 1.0, indicating that precipitate chemical form varies with the conditions of loading. In both RBM and RLM, the presence of cyclosporine A in addition to ADP increased the Ca2+ capacity and precipitate Ca/P ratio. Following MPT and/or depolarization, the release of accumulated Ca2+ is rapid but incomplete; significant residual calcium in the form of precipitates is retained in damaged mitochondria for prolonged periods.
PMCID: PMC2566803  PMID: 17663756
brain; calcium; mitochondria; phosphate; rat

Results 1-12 (12)