Effects of ischemic preconditioning on VEGF and pFlk-1 immunoreactivities in the gerbil ischemic hippocampus after transient cerebral ischemia.
Ischemia preconditioning (IPC) displays an important adaptation of the CNS to sub-lethal ischemia. In the present study, we examined the effect of IPC on immunoreactivities of VEGF-, and phospho-Flk-1 (pFlk-1) following transient cerebral ischemia in gerbils. The animals were randomly assigned to four groups (sham-operated-group, ischemia-operated-group, IPC plus (+) sham-operated-group, and IPC+ischemia-operated-group). IPC was induced by subjecting gerbils to 2min of ischemia followed by 1day of recovery. In the ischemia-operated-group, a significant loss of neurons was observed in the stratum pyramidale (SP) of the hippocampal CA1 region (CA1) alone 5days after ischemia-reperfusion, however, in all the IPC+ischemia-operated-groups, pyramidal neurons in the SP were well protected. In immunohistochemical study, VEGF immunoreactivity in the ischemia-operated-group was increased in the SP at 1day post-ischemia and decreased with time. Five days after ischemia-reperfusion, strong VEGF immunoreactivity was found in non-pyramidal cells, which were identified as pericytes, in the stratum oriens (SO) and radiatum (SR). In the IPC+sham-operated- and IPC+ischemia-operated-groups, VEGF immunoreactivity was significantly increased in the SP. pFlk-1 immunoreactivity in the sham-operated- and ischemia-operated-groups was hardly found in the SP, and, from 2days post-ischemia, pFlk-1 immunoreactivity was strongly increased in non-pyramidal cells, which were identified as pericytes. In the IPC+sham-operated-group, pFlk-1 immunoreactivity was significantly increased in both pyramidal and non-pyramidal cells; in the IPC+ischemia-operated-groups, the similar pattern of VEGF immunoreactivity was found in the ischemic CA1, although the VEGF immunoreactivity was strong in non-pyramidal cells at 5days post-ischemia. In brief, our findings show that IPC dramatically augmented the induction of VEGF and pFlk-1 immunoreactivity in the pyramidal cells of the CA1 after ischemia-reperfusion, and these findings suggest that the increases of VEGF and Flk-1 expressions may be necessary for neurons to survive from transient ischemic damage.