Early reperfusion injury is associated to MMP2 and IL-1β elevation in cortical neurons of rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion.

The pathophysiological processes implicated in ischemic brain damage are strongly affected by an inflammatory reaction characterized by activation of immune cells and release of soluble mediators, including cytokines and chemokines. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β has been implicated in ischemic brain injury, however, to date, the mechanisms involved in the maturation of this cytokine in the ischemic brain have not been completely elucidated. We have previously suggested that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) may be implicated in cytokine production under pathological conditions. Here, we demonstrate that significant elevation of IL-1β occurs in the cortex as early as 1h after the beginning of reperfusion in rats subjected to 2-h middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). At this early stage, we observe increased expression of IL-1β in pericallosal astroglial cells and in cortical neurons and this latter signal colocalizes with elevated gelatinolytic activity. By gel zymography, we demonstrate that the increased gelatinolytic signal at 1-h reperfusion is mainly ascribed to MMP2. Thus, MMP2 seems to contribute to early brain elevation of IL-β after transient ischemia and this mechanism may promote damage since pharmacological inhibition of gelatinases by the selective MMP2/MMP9 inhibitor V provides neuroprotection in rats subjected to transient MCAo. >>


published on Neuroscience, 2014.

Understanding the Multifaceted Role of Inflammatory Mediators in Ischemic Stroke.

The evolution of ischemic brain damage is strongly affected by an inflammatory reaction that involves soluble mediators, such as cytokines and chemokines, and specialized cells activated locally or recruited from the periphery. The immune system affects all phases of the ischemic cascade, from the acute intravascular reaction due to blood flow disruption, to the development of brain tissue damage, repair and regeneration. Increased endothelial expression of adhesion molecules and blood-brain barrier breakdown promote extravasation and brain recruitment of blood-borne cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells and T lymphocytes, as demonstrated both in animal models and in human stroke. Nevertheless, most anti-inflammatory approaches showing promising results in experimental stroke models failed in the clinical setting. The lack of translation may reside in the redundancy of most inflammatory mediators, exerting both detrimental and beneficial functions. Thus, this review is aimed at providing a better understanding of the dualistic role played by each component of the inflammatory/immune response in relation to the spatio-temporal evolution of ischemic stroke injury. >>


published on Curr Med Chem., 2014.

Neuroprotection by leptin in a rat model of permanent cerebral ischemia: effects on STAT3 phosphorylation in discrete cells of the brain

In addition to its effects in the hypothalamus to control body weight, leptin is involved in the regulation of neuronal function, development and survival. Recent findings have highlighted the neuroprotective effects of leptin against ischemic brain injury; however, to date, little is known about the role performed by the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3, a major mediator of leptin receptor transduction pathway in the brain, in the beneficial effects of the hormone. Our data demonstrate that systemic acute administration of leptin produces neuroprotection in rats subjected to permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo), as revealed by a significant reduction of the brain infarct volume and neurological deficit up to 7 days after the induction of ischemia. By combining a subcellular fractionation approach with immunohistofluorescence, we observe that neuroprotection is associated with a cell type-specific modulation of STAT3 phosphorylation in the ischemic cortex. The early enhancement of nuclear phospho-STAT3 induced by leptin in the astrocytes of the ischemic penumbra may contribute to a beneficial effect of these cells on the evolution of tissue damage. In addition, the elevation of phospho-STAT3 induced by leptin in the neurons after 24 h MCAo is associated with an increased expression of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 in the cortex, suggesting its possible involvement to the neuroprotection produced by the adipokine. >>

published on Cell Death Dis., 2011.

Modulation of RAGE isoforms expression in the brain and plasma of rats exposed to transient focal cerebral ischemia.

Activation of RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation endproducts) and of its subtypes may play a role in neuronal damage and neuroinflammation associated with brain ischemia, though the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we have examined by Western blotting the expression of RAGE isoforms in the cerebral cortex and striatum of Wistar rats subjected to transient (1 or 2 h) middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo). The findings show that the full-length RAGE (~50 kDa) and its isoforms in the 26-43 kDa range are significantly decreased in the ischemic cortex, but not in the striatum, after 1 and 2 h tMCAo when compared to the sham group. By contrast, in the striatum, ischemia-reperfusion injury caused a significant increase of full-length RAGE and its isoforms in the 72-100 kDa range. We also investigated the soluble form of RAGE, which was significantly decreased in the plasma of rats subjected to transient or permanent MCAo. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate that regional brain expression of RAGE is differentially affected by tMCAo in rat. These modifications are accompanied by a decrease in the plasma levels of soluble RAGE, thereby suggesting a potential role for soluble RAGE as a peripheral biomarker of focal ischemia. >>


published on Neurochem. Res., 2012.

Neuropharmacology of the essential oil of bergamot.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia, Risso) is a fruit most knowledgeable for its essential oil (BEO) used in aromatherapy to minimize symptoms of stress-induced anxiety and mild mood disorders and cancer pain though the rational basis for such applications awaits to be discovered. The behavioural and EEG spectrum power effects of BEO correlate well with its exocytotic and carrier-mediated release of discrete amino acids endowed with neurotransmitter function in the mammalian hippocampus supporting the deduction that BEO is able to interfere with normal and pathological synaptic plasticity. The observed neuroprotection in the course of experimental brain ischemia and pain does support this view. In conclusion, the data yielded so far contribute to our understanding of the mode of action of this phytocomplex on nerve tissue under normal and pathological experimental conditions and provide a rational basis for the practical use of BEO in complementary medicine. The opening of a wide venue for future research and translation into clinical settings is also envisaged. >>


published on Fitoterapia, 2010.

The protective role of catalase against cerebral ischemia in vitro and in vivo.

The present study aims to assess the protective role of the antioxidant enzyme catalase (CAT) with relation to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) degradation in oxygen plus water on electrophysiological and fluorescence changes induced by in vitro ischemia and on brain damage produced by transient in vivo ischemia. Neuroprotective effects of CAT were determined by means of electrophysiological recordings and confocal fluorescence microscopy in the hippocampal slice preparation. Ischemia was simulated in vitro by oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD). In vivo ischemia was produced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). A protection of the rat CA1 field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) loss caused by a prolonged OGD (40 min) was observed after exogenous CAT (500 U/mL) bath-applied before a combined exposure to OGD and H(2)O(2) (3 mM). Of note, neither H(2)O(2) nor exogenous CAT alone had a protective action when OGD lasted for 40 min. The CAT-induced neuroprotection was confirmed in a transgenic mouse model over-expressing human CAT [Tg(CAT)]. In the presence of H(2)O(2), the hippocampus of Tg(CAT) showed an increased resistance against OGD compared to that of wild-type (WT) animals. Moreover, CAT treatment reduced for about 50 min fEPSP depression evoked by repeated applications of H(2)O(2) in normoxia. A lower sensitivity to H(2)O(2)-induced depression of fEPSPs was also indicated by the rightward shift of concentration-response curve in Tg(CAT) compared to WT mice. Noteworthy, Tg(CAT) mice had a reduced infarct size after MCAo. Our data suggest new strategies to reduce neuronal damage produced by transient brain ischemia through the manipulation of CAT enzyme. >>


published on Int. J. Immunopathol. Pharmacol., 2011.