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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2011 Sep;16(5):529-37. doi: 10.1007/s12192-011-0264-8. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

The protective role of 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5-HMF) against acute hypobaric hypoxia.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Beijing Institute for Neuro-Science, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100069, People's Republic of China.


Our previous study showed that pretreatment with 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5-HMF) led to protection against hypoxic injury via a p-ERK-mediated pathway in vitro. Whether the protection of 5-HMF against hypoxia is effective in vivo is unknown. The present study is aimed to verify the role of 5-HMF in acute hypobaric hypoxia using Kunming mice as an in vivo model and further investigate the underlying mechanisms. Mice pretreated with or without 5-HMF for 1 h were exposed to acute hypobaric hypoxic condition for 6 h and then the survival time, the survival rate, the permeability of blood-brain barrier (BBB), the histological analysis in hippocampus and cortex, and the phosphorylation level of mitogen-activated protein kinases (ERK, JNK, and p38) were investigated. The results showed that 5-HMF significantly increased the survival time and the survival rate of mice. Accordingly, pretreatment with 5-HMF markedly attenuated acute hypobaric hypoxia-induced permeability of BBB (P < 0.01). In addition, the cellular damage extent of the hippocampus and the cortex induced by hypoxia for 6 h was also attenuated by pretreatment with 5-HMF, especially in the hippocampus CA1 region. Furthermore, the activation of ERK rather than JNK and p38 was involved in the protection of 5-HMF against acute hypobaric hypoxia. In summary, 5-HMF enhanced the survival capability of mice and decreased acute hypoxic damage to the brain, which may be associated with the effects on BBB and p-ERK.

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