Melatonin has demonstrated a potential protective effect in central nervous system. Thus, it is interesting to determine whether pre-ischemia melatonin administration could protect against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (IR)-related injury and the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we revealed that IR injury significantly activated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy in a middle cerebral artery occlusion mouse model. Pre-ischemia melatonin treatment was able to attenuate IR-induced ER stress and autophagy. In addition, with tandem RFP-GFP-LC3 adeno-associated virus, we demonstrated pre-ischemic melatonin significantly alleviated IR-induced autophagic flux. Furthermore, we showed that IR induced neuronal apoptosis through ER stress related signalings. Moreover, IR-induced autophagy was significantly blocked by ER stress inhibitor (4-PBA), as well as ER-related signaling inhibitors (PERK inhibitor, GSK; IRE1 inhibitor, 3,5-dibromosalicylaldehyde). Finally, we revealed that melatonin significantly alleviated cerebral infarction, brain edema, neuronal apoptosis, and neurological deficiency, which were remarkably abolished by tunicamycin (ER stress activator) and rapamycin (autophagy activator), respectively. In summary, our study provides strong evidence that pre-ischemia melatonin administration significantly protects against cerebral IR injury through inhibiting ER stress-dependent autophagy. Our findings shed light on the novel preventive and therapeutic strategy of daily administration of melatonin, especially among the population with high risk of cerebral ischemic stroke.
As a selective degradation system, chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis and survival under stress conditions. Increasing evidence points to an important role for the dysfunction of CMA in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD). However, the mechanisms by which CMA regulates neuronal survival under stress and its role in neurodegenerative diseases are not fully understood. PARK7/DJ-1 is an autosomal recessive familial PD gene. PARK7 plays a critical role in antioxidative response and its dysfunction leads to mitochondrial defects. In the current study, we showed that CMA mediated the lysosome-dependent degradation of PARK7. Importantly, CMA preferentially removed the oxidatively damaged nonfunctional PARK7 protein. Furthermore, CMA protected cells from mitochondrial toxin MPP+-induced changes in mitochondrial morphology and function, and increased cell viability. These protective effects were lost under PARK7-deficiency conditions. Conversely, overexpression of PARK7 significantly attenuated the mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death exacerbated by blocking CMA under oxidative stress. Thus, our findings reveal a mechanism by which CMA protects mitochondrial function by degrading nonfunctional PARK7 and maintaining its homeostasis, and dysregulation of this pathway may contribute to the neuronal stress and death in PD pathogenesis.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra compacta (SNc). Although mitochondrial dysfunction is the critical factor in the pathogenesis of PD, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood, and as a result, effective medical interventions are lacking. Mitochondrial fission and fusion play important roles in the maintenance of mitochondrial function and cell viability. Here, we investigated the effects of MitoQ, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced in vitro and in vivo PD models. We observed that 6-OHDA enhanced mitochondrial fission by decreasing the expression of Mfn1, Mfn2 and OPA1 as well as by increasing the expression of Drp1 in the dopaminergic (DA) cell line SN4741. Notably, MitoQ treatment particularly upregulated the Mfn2 protein and mRNA levels and promoted mitochondrial fusion in the presence of 6-OHDA in a Mfn2-dependent manner. In addition, MitoQ also stabilized mitochondrial morphology and function in the presence of 6-OHDA, which further suppressed the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as ameliorated mitochondrial fragmentation and cellular apoptosis. Moreover, the activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) was attributed to the upregulation of Mfn2 induced by MitoQ. Consistent with these findings, administration of MitoQ in 6-OHDA-treated mice significantly rescued the decrease of Mfn2 expression and the loss of DA neurons in the SNc. Taken together, our findings suggest that MitoQ protects DA neurons in a 6-OHDA induced PD model by activating PGC-1α to enhance Mfn2-dependent mitochondrial fusion.
Apoptosis plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of early brain injury (EBI) following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). However, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal apoptosis in EBI after SAH have not been fully elucidated. The present study showed that EBI induced significantly neuronal apoptosis activation of Ras/Raf/Erk signals in hippocampus after SAH. Intracisternal administration of PD98059, an inhibitor of Erk1/2, decreased the hippocampal neuronal apoptosis and alleviated the cognitive deficits induced by SAH. Interestingly, an increase in phosphorylation of p53 was paralleled with p-Erk, and PD98059 also blocked the level of p-p53. In primary cultures, oxyhemoglobin (OxyHb) treatment significantly increased p-Erk, p-p53, and apoptosis, which was used to mimic the pathological injury of SAH. Both p53 small interfering RNA (siRNA) and PD98059 reduced the OxyHb-induced apoptosis. Moreover, PD98059 significantly decreased the levels of p-Erk and p-p53; however, p53 siRNA had little effect on the level of p-Erk. Taken together, our study implicates that the Ras/Raf/Erk signals contribute to neuronal death through the phosphorylation of p53 in hippocampus after SAH and also suggests Erk/p53 as a potential target for clinical drug treatment of SAH.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a persistent decline of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Despite its frequency, effective therapeutic strategies that halt the neurodegenerative processes are lacking, reinforcing the need to better understand the molecular drivers of this disease. Importantly, increasing evidence suggests that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced unfolded protein response is likely involved in DA neuronal death. Salidroside, a major compound isolated from Rhodiola rosea L., possesses potent antioxidative stress properties and protects against DA neuronal death. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that salidroside prevents 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced cytotoxicity by attenuating ER stress. Furthermore, treatment of a DA neuronal cell line (SN4741) and primary cortical neurons with salidroside significantly reduced neurotoxin-induced increases in cytoplasmic reactive oxygen species and calcium, both of which cause ER stress, and cleaved caspase-12, which is responsible for ER stress-induced cell death. Together, these results suggest that salidroside protects SN4741 cells and primary cortical neurons from 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity by attenuating ER stress. This provides a rationale for the investigation of salidroside as a potential therapeutic agent in animal models of PD.
Stroke has been the leading cause of adult morbidity and mortality over the past several years. After an ischemic stroke attack, many dormant or reversibly injured brain cells exist in the penumbra area. However, the pathological processes and unique cell information in the penumbra area of an acute ischemic stroke remain elusive. We applied unbiased single cell sequencing in combination with bulk RNA-seq analysis to investigate the heterogeneity of each cell type in the early stages of ischemic stroke and to detect early possible therapeutic targets to help cell survival. We used these analyses to study the mouse brain penumbra during this phase. Our results reveal the impact of ischemic stroke on specific genes and pathways of different cell types and the alterations of cell differentiation trajectories, suggesting potential pathological mechanisms and therapeutic targets. In addition to classical gene markers, single-cell genomics demonstrates unique information on subclusters of several cell types and metabolism changes in an ischemic stroke. These findings suggest that Gadd45b in microglia, Cyr61 in astrocytes, and Sgk3 in oligodendrocytes may play a subcluster-specific role in cell death or survival in the early stages of ischemic stroke. Moreover, RNA-scope multiplex in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence staining were applied to selected target gene markers to validate and confirm the existence of these cell subtypes and molecular changes during acute stage of ischemic stroke.
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