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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Nov;30(11):1825-33. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2010.52. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Deletion of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 increases ischemic brain damage after transient focal ischemia by altering gene expression patterns and enhancing inflammatory cytokines.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada, USA.


Mitochondrial hyperpolarization inhibits the electron transport chain and increases incomplete reduction of oxygen, enabling production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The consequence is mitochondrial damage that eventually causes cell death. Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are inner mitochondrial membrane proteins that dissipate the mitochondrial proton gradient by transporting H(+) across the inner membrane, thereby stabilizing the inner mitochondrial membrane potential and reducing the formation of ROS. The role of UCP2 in neuroprotection is still in debate. This study seeks to clarify the role of UCP2 in transient focal ischemia (tFI) and to further understand the mechanisms of ischemic brain damage. Both wild-type and UCP2-knockout mice were subjected to tFI. Knocking out UCP2 significantly increased the infarct volume to 61% per hemisphere as compared with 18% in wild-type animals. Knocking out UCP2 suppressed antioxidant, cell-cycle, and DNA repair genes, including Sod1 and Sod2, Gstm1, and cyclins. Furthermore, knocking out UCP2 significantly upregulated the protein levels of the inflammatory cytokines, including CTACK, CXCL16, Eotaxin-2, fractalkine, and BLC. It is concluded that knocking out the UCP2 gene exacerbates neuronal death after cerebral ischemia with reperfusion and this detrimental effect is mediated by alteration of antioxidant genes and upregulation of inflammatory mediators.

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