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Neuroscience. 2012 Sep 18;220:277-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.06.019. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

Intranuclear matrix metalloproteinases promote DNA damage and apoptosis induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation in neurons.

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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Department of Neurology, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Degradation of the extracellular matrix by elevated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity following ischemia/reperfusion is implicated in blood-brain barrier disruption and neuronal death. In contrast to their characterized extracellular roles, we previously reported that elevated intranuclear MMP-2 and -9 (gelatinase) activity degrades nuclear DNA repair proteins and promotes accumulation of oxidative DNA damage in neurons in rat brain at 3-h reperfusion after ischemic stroke. Here, we report that treatment with a broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor significantly reduced neuronal apoptosis in rat ischemic hemispheres at 48-h reperfusion after a 90-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Since extracellular gelatinases in brain tissue are known to be neurotoxic during acute stroke, the contribution of intranuclear MMP-2 and -9 activities in neurons to neuronal apoptosis has been unclear. To confirm and extend our in vivo observations, oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD), an in vitro model of ischemia/reperfusion, was employed. Primary cortical neurons were subjected to 2-h OGD with reoxygenation. Increased intranuclear gelatinase activity was detected immediately after reoxygenation onset and was maximal at 24h, while extracellular gelatinase levels remained unchanged. We detected elevated levels of both MMP-2 and -9 in neuronal nuclear extracts and gelatinase activity in neurons co-localized primarily with MMP-2. We found a marked decrease in PARP1, XRCC1, and OGG1, and decreased PARP1 activity. Pretreatment of neurons with selective MMP-2/9 inhibitor II significantly decreased gelatinase activity and downregulation of DNA repair enzymes, decreased accumulation of oxidative DNA damage, and promoted neuronal survival after OGD. Our results confirm the nuclear localization of gelatinases and their nuclear substrates observed in an animal stroke model, further supporting a novel role for intranuclear gelatinase activity in an intrinsic apoptotic pathway in neurons during acute stroke injury.

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