Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) induces a series of inflammatory processes that contribute to neuronal damage and neurological deterioration. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors that negatively regulate transcriptional processes involved in inflammatory responses, but their role in the pathology following ICH remains unclear. The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects and anti-inflammatory actions of TO901317, a synthetic LXR agonist, in a model of collagenase-induced ICH and in microglial cultures.
Mice subjected to collagenase-induced ICH injury were injected with either TO901317 (30 mg/kg) or vehicle 10 min after ICH and subsequently daily for 2 days. Behavioral studies, histology analysis, and assessments of hematoma volumes, brain water content, and blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability were performed. The protein expression of LXR-α, LXR-β, ATP binding cassette transporter-1 (ABCA-1), and inflammatory molecules was analyzed. The anti-inflammatory mechanism of TO901317 was investigated in cultured microglia that were stimulated with either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or thrombin.
ICH induced an increase in LXR-α protein levels in the hemorrhagic hemisphere at 6 h whereas LXR-β expression remained unaffected. Both LXR-α and LXR-β were expressed in neurons and microglia in the peri-ICH region and but rarely in astrocytes. TO901317 significantly attenuated functional deficits and brain damage up to 28 days post-ICH. TO901317 also reduced neuronal death, BBB disruption, and brain edema at day 4 post-ICH. These changes were associated with marked reductions in microglial activation, neutrophil infiltration, and expression levels of inflammatory mediators at 4 and 7 days. However, TO901317 had no effect on matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity. In BV2 microglial cultures, TO901317 attenuated LPS- and thrombin-stimulated nitric oxide production and reduced LPS-induced p38, JNK, MAPK, and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling. Moreover, delaying administration of TO901317 to 3 h post-ICH reduced brain tissue damage and neuronal death.
Our results suggest that enhancing LXR activation may provide a potential therapy for ICH by modulating the cytotoxic functions of microglia.
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