Recent findings have revealed a novel inflammatory mechanism that contributes to tissue injury in cerebral ischemia mediated by multi-protein complexes termed inflammasomes. Intermittent fasting (IF) can decrease the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the periphery and brain. Here we investigated the impact of IF (16h of food deprivation daily) for 4months on NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasome activities following cerebral ischemia. Ischemic stroke was induced in C57BL/6J mice by middle cerebral artery occlusion, followed by reperfusion (I/R). IF decreased the activation of NF-?B and MAPK signaling pathways, the expression of NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasome proteins, and both IL-1? and IL-18 in the ischemic brain tissue. These findings demonstrate that IF can attenuate the inflammatory response and tissue damage following ischemic stroke by a mechanism involving suppression of NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasome activity.
Inflammation is an innate immune response to infection or tissue damage that is designed to limit harm to the host, but contributes significantly to ischemic brain injury following stroke. The inflammatory response is initiated by the detection of acute damage via extracellular and intracellular pattern recognition receptors, which respond to conserved microbial structures, termed pathogen-associated molecular patterns or host-derived danger signals termed damage-associated molecular patterns. Multi-protein complexes known as inflammasomes (e.g. containing NLRP1, NLRP2, NLRP3, NLRP6, NLRP7, NLRP12, NLRC4, AIM2 and/or Pyrin), then process these signals to trigger an effector response. Briefly, signaling through NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasomes produces cleaved caspase-1, which cleaves both pro-IL-1? and pro-IL-18 into their biologically active mature pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released into the extracellular environment. This review will describe the molecular structure, cellular signaling pathways and current evidence for inflammasome activation following cerebral ischemia, and the potential for future treatments for stroke that may involve targeting inflammasome formation or its products in the ischemic brain.
Ephrin (Eph) signaling within the central nervous system is known to modulate axon guidance, synaptic plasticity, and to promote long-term potentiation. We investigated the potential involvement of EphA2 receptors in ischemic stroke-induced brain inflammation in a mouse model of focal stroke. Cerebral ischemia was induced in male C57Bl6/J wild-type (WT) and EphA2-deficient (EphA2(-/-)) mice by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO; 60 min), followed by reperfusion (24 or 72 h). Brain infarction was measured using triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. Neurological deficit scores and brain infarct volumes were significantly less in EphA2(-/-) mice compared with WT controls. This protection by EphA2 deletion was associated with a comparative decrease in brain edema, blood-brain barrier damage, MMP-9 expression and leukocyte infiltration, and higher expression levels of the tight junction protein, zona occludens-1. Moreover, EphA2(-/-) brains had significantly lower levels of the pro-apoptotic proteins, cleaved caspase-3 and BAX, and higher levels of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2 as compared to WT group. We confirmed that isolated WT cortical neurons express the EphA2 receptor and its ligands (ephrin-A1-A3). Furthermore, expression of all four proteins was increased in WT primary cortical neurons following 24 h of glucose deprivation, and in the brains of WT mice following stroke. Glucose deprivation induced less cell death in primary neurons from EphA2(-/-) compared with WT mice. In conclusion, our data provide the first evidence that the EphA2 receptor directly contributes to blood-brain barrier damage and neuronal death following ischemic stroke.
Cardiovascular remodeling leading to heart failure is common in the elderly. Testing effective pharmacological treatment of human heart failure requires a suitable animal model that adequately mimics the human disease state.
Red wine contains many compounds that may have therapeutic use, including resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxytrans-stilbene). Since resveratrol could be administered both in the diet and as a therapeutic agent, defining appropriate concentrations requires understanding of the pharmacokinetics. Resveratrol absorption is rapid but plasma concentrations are low as it is rapidly and efficiently converted into relatively hydrophilic phase-2 conjugates, and metabolites, which are then rapidly excreted via the urine and bile. Resveratrol is an effective antioxidant in vivo by increasing NO synthesis and also maintaining the reduced intracellular redox state via the thioredoxin system. Further, activation of sirtuins (one class of lysine deacetylases) may mediate the cardiovascular responses shown by resveratrol. Studies on animal models of human disease suggest that resveratrol has the potential to decrease cardiovascular symptoms in patients with myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, hypertension, cardiomyopathies, fibrosis, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and diabetes, but, as yet, human clinical trials are rare. Cardioprotection by resveratrol in rodent models may rely on mechanisms producing pharmacological preconditioning in the heart including reducing reactive oxygen species, improving vasorelaxation and angiogenesis, preventing inflammation and apoptosis, delaying atherosclerosis as well as decreasing cardiovascular remodelling. Interventional studies in humans need to be completed before resveratrol can be considered as a standard therapeutic agent. Therefore, future studies should focus on obtaining the level of evidence required to determine whether resveratrol can be added to the list of evidence-based therapies for cardiovascular diseases that includes renin-angiotensin system inhibitors, beta-adrenoceptor antagonists and calcium entry blockers.
L-carnitine is an important co-factor in fatty acid metabolism by mitochondria. This study has determined whether oral administration of L-carnitine prevents remodelling and the development of impaired cardiovascular function in deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive rats (n = 6-12; #p < 0.05 versus DOCA-salt). Uninephrectomized rats administered DOCA (25 mg every 4th day s.c.) and 1% NaCl in drinking water for 28 days developed cardiovascular remodelling shown as systolic hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, increased thoracic aortic and left ventricular wall thickness, increased left ventricular inflammatory cell infiltration together with increased interstitial collagen and increased passive diastolic stiffness and vascular dysfunction with increased plasma malondialdehyde concentrations. Treatment with L-carnitine (1.2% in food; 0.9 mg/g/day in DOCA-salt rats) decreased blood pressure (DOCA-salt 169 +/- 2; + L-carnitine 148 +/- 6# mmHg), decreased left ventricular wet weights (DOCA-salt 3.02 +/- 0.07; + L-carnitine 2.72 +/- 0.06# mg/g body-wt), decreased inflammatory cells in the replacement fibrotic areas, reduced left ventricular interstitial collagen content (DOCA-salt 14.4 +/- 0.2; + L-carnitine 8.7 +/- 0.5# % area), reduced diastolic stiffness constant (DOCA-salt 26.9 +/- 0.5; + L-carnitine 23.8 +/- 0.5# dimensionless) and decreased plasma malondialdehyde concentrations (DOCA-salt 26.9 +/- 0.8; + L-carnitine 21.2 +/- 0.4# micromol/l) without preventing endothelial dysfunction. L-carnitine attenuated the cardiac remodelling and improved cardiac function in DOCA-salt hypertension but produced minimal changes in aortic wall thickness and vascular function. This study suggests that the mitochondrial respiratory chain is a significant source of reactive oxygen species in the heart but less so in the vasculature in DOCA-salt rats, underlying the relatively selective cardiac responses to L-carnitine treatment.
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