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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Mar;30(3):480-92. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.255. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Effects of AMP-activated protein kinase in cerebral ischemia.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA.


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a serine threonine kinase that is highly conserved through evolution. AMPK is found in most mammalian tissues including the brain. As a key metabolic and stress sensor/effector, AMPK is activated under conditions of nutrient deprivation, vigorous exercise, or heat shock. However, it is becoming increasingly recognized that changes in AMPK activation not only signal unmet metabolic needs, but also are involved in sensing and responding to 'cell stress', including ischemia. The downstream effect of AMPK activation is dependent on many factors, including the severity of the stressor as well as the tissue examined. This review discusses recent in vitro and in vivo studies performed in the brain/neuronal cells and vasculature that have contributed to our understanding of AMPK in stroke. Recent data on the potential role of AMPK in angiogenesis and neurogenesis and the interaction of AMPK with 3-hydroxy-3-methy-glutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) agents are highlighted. The interaction between AMPK and nitric oxide signaling is also discussed.

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