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Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Feb 1;40(3):376-87. Epub 2005 Nov 21.

Phospholipase A2, reactive oxygen species, and lipid peroxidation in cerebral ischemia.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53792-3232, USA.


Ischemic stroke is caused by obstruction of blood flow to the brain, resulting in energy failure that initiates a complex series of metabolic events, ultimately causing neuronal death. One such critical metabolic event is the activation of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), resulting in hydrolysis of membrane phospholipids and release of free fatty acids including arachidonic acid, a metabolic precursor for important cell-signaling eicosanoids. PLA2 enzymes have been classified as calcium-dependent cytosolic (cPLA2) and secretory (sPLA2) and calcium-independent (iPLA2) forms. Cardiolipin hydrolysis by mitochondrial sPLA2 disrupts the mitochondrial respiratory chain and increases production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxidative metabolism of arachidonic acid also generates ROS. These two processes contribute to formation of lipid peroxides, which degrade to reactive aldehyde products (malondialdehyde, 4-hydroxynonenal, and acrolein) that covalently bind to proteins/nucleic acids, altering their function and causing cellular damage. Activation of PLA2 in cerebral ischemia has been shown while other studies have separately demonstrated increased lipid peroxidation. To the best of our knowledge no study has directly shown the role of PLA2 in lipid peroxidation in cerebral ischemia. To date, there are very limited data on PLA2 protein by Western blotting after cerebral ischemia, though some immunohistochemical studies (for cPLA2 and sPLA2) have been reported. Dissecting the contribution of PLA2 to lipid peroxidation in cerebral ischemia is challenging due to multiple forms of PLA2, cardiolipin hydrolysis, diverse sources of ROS arising from arachidonic acid metabolism, catecholamine autoxidation, xanthine oxidase activity, mitochondrial dysfunction, activated neutrophils coupled with NADPH oxidase activity, and lack of specific inhibitors. Although increased activity and expression of various PLA2 isoforms have been demonstrated in stroke, more studies are needed to clarify the cellular origin and localization of these isoforms in the brain, their responses in cerebral ischemic injury, and their role in oxidative stress.

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