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Brain Res. 2006 May 17;1089(1):195-202. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

The preconditioning modified neuronal expression of apoptosis-related proteins of Bcl-2 superfamily following severe hypobaric hypoxia in rats.

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The Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Makarova emb. 6, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia.


The patterns of expression of the Bcl-2, Bax, and Bcl-xL proteins were examined immunocytochemically in rat hippocampus and neocortex after severe hypobaric hypoxia (180 Torr for 3 h) and severe hypoxia preconditioned by intermittent mild hypoxia (360 Torr for 2 h daily, for 3 consecutive days, 24 h prior to severe hypoxia). As revealed by TUNEL assay, severe hypobaric hypoxia produced extensive apoptotic damage to the neurons of hippocampal CA1-CA4 and the neocortex but not the dentate gyrus granule cells. Remarkable posthypoxic up-regulation of Bax expression maximal at 24 h was detected in the CA1-CA4 areas of hippocampus and neocortex 3-72 h after severe hypoxia. The preconditioning to severe hypoxia protected neurons from the posthypoxic apoptotic transformations, the up-regulation of Bax expression, and resulted in persistent overexpression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. We conclude that the protective action of hypoxic preconditioning is at least in part mediated by shifting of neuronal Bax/Bcl-2-Bcl-xL ratio to a favor of antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL.

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