Transient global ischemia causes selective, delayed death of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons in humans and animals. It is well established that estrogens ameliorate neuronal death in animal models of focal and global ischemia. However, the role of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) and its target genes in estradiol neuroprotection in global ischemia remains unclear. Here we show that a single intracerebral injection of 17?-estradiol to ovariectomized female rats immediately after ischemia rescues CA1 neurons destined to die. Ischemia promotes activation of STAT3 signaling, association of STAT3 with the promoters of target genes, and STAT3-dependent mRNA and protein expression of prosurvival proteins in the selectively vulnerable CA1. In animals subjected to ischemia, acute postischemic estradiol further enhances activation and nuclear translocation of STAT3 and STAT3-dependent transcription of target genes. Importantly, we show that STAT3 is critical to estradiol neuroprotection, as evidenced by the ability of STAT3 inhibitor peptide and STAT3 shRNA delivered directly into the CA1 of living animals to abolish neuroprotection. In addition, we identify survivin, a member of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis family of proteins and known gene target of STAT3, as essential to estradiol neuroprotection, as evidenced by the ability of shRNA to survivin to reverse neuroprotection. These findings indicate that ischemia and estradiol act synergistically to promote activation of STAT3 and STAT3-dependent transcription of survivin in insulted CA1 neurons and identify STAT3 and survivin as potentially important therapeutic targets in an in vivo model of global ischemia.
Global ischemia arising during cardiac arrest or cardiac surgery causes highly selective, delayed death of hippocampal CA1 neurons. Exogenous estradiol ameliorates global ischemia-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairment in male and female rodents. However, the molecular mechanisms by which a single acute injection of estradiol administered after the ischemic event intervenes in global ischemia-induced apoptotic cell death are unclear. Here we show that acute estradiol acts via the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) signaling cascade to protect CA1 neurons in ovariectomized female rats. We demonstrate that global ischemia promotes early activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK3beta) and forkhead transcription factor of the O class (FOXO)3A, known Akt targets that are related to cell survival, and activation of caspase-3. Estradiol prevents ischemia-induced dephosphorylation and activation of GSK3beta and FOXO3A, and the caspase death cascade. These findings support a model whereby estradiol acts by activation of PI3K/Akt signaling to promote neuronal survival in the face of global ischemia.
Dysregulation of Akt signaling is important in a broad range of diseases that includes cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The role of Akt signaling in brain disorders is less clear. We found that global ischemia in intact rats triggered expression and activation of the Akt inhibitor CTMP (carboxyl-terminal modulator protein) in vulnerable hippocampal neurons and that CTMP bound and extinguished Akt activity and was essential to ischemia-induced neuronal death. Although ischemia induced a marked phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Akt, phosphorylated Akt was not active in post-ischemic neurons, as assessed by kinase assays and phosphorylation of the downstream targets GSK-3beta and FOXO3A. RNA interference-mediated depletion of CTMP in a clinically relevant model of stroke restored Akt activity and rescued hippocampal neurons. Our results indicate that CTMP is important in the neurodegeneration that is associated with stroke and identify CTMP as a therapeutic target for the amelioration of hippocampal injury and cognitive deficits.
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