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Brain Res. 2009 May 26;1272:62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.03.023. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Attenuation of neuronal degeneration in thioredoxin-1 overexpressing mice after mild focal ischemia.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Thioredoxin (Trx) is a 12-kDa protein ubiquitously expressed in all living cells that fulfills a variety of biological functions related to cell proliferation and apoptosis. It is characterized by the highly conserved reduction/oxidation (redox)-active site sequence Trp-Cys-Gly-Pro-Cys-Lys. Trx acts as a powerful antioxidant and plays an important role in maintaining critical protein thiols in the reduced state. Moreover, it has been shown to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and to protect against oxidative stress. We have reported that Trx-1 protects against neuronal damage during focal ischemia. However, the mechanisms underlying this protective effect and the effect of Trx-1 on neuronal apoptosis during ischemia have not been fully clarified. In this study, we analyzed the effect of Trx-1 overexpression against neuronal degeneration after a short duration of transient brain ischemia. Mild focal ischemia was reported to induce neuronal death through apoptosis. We employed Fluorojade-B staining to detect neuronal degeneration. In Trx transgenic mice, a smaller number of Fluorojade-B-positive neurons were detected after ischemia-reperfusion than in wild-type mice. In addition, we detected cleaved caspase-3- and TUNEL-positive cells, which indicated caspase-dependent apoptosis. Fewer caspase-3- and TUNEL-positive neurons were detected after ischemia-reperfusion in Trx transgenic mice than in wild-type mice. Furthermore, Akt signaling was reported to play a role in neuronal survival in Trx-1 overexpressing mice. After ischemia-reperfusion, Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis indicated that phosphorylation of Akt was enhanced in Trx transgenic mice after ischemia-reperfusion. Intraventricular injection of LY294002,which is a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), vanished the neuroprotective effect in Trx-1 transgenic mice. These results indicate that Trx-1 overexpression protects neurons from apoptosis after ischemia-reperfusion.

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