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J Neurochem. 2012 Dec;123(6):954-62. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12047. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Hypoxic preconditioning induces stroke tolerance in mice via a cascading HIF, sphingosine kinase, and CCL2 signaling pathway.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The induction of ischemic tolerance by preconditioning provides a platform to elucidate endogenous mechanisms of stroke protection. In these studies, we characterize the relationship between hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), sphingosine kinase 2 (SphK2), and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) in models of hypoxic or pharmacological preconditioning-induced ischemic tolerance. A genetics-based approach using SphK2- and CCL2-null mice showed both SphK2 and CCL2 to be necessary for the induction of ischemic tolerance following preconditioning with hypoxia, the hypoxia-mimetic cobalt chloride, or the sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) agonist FTY720. A pharmacological approach confirmed the necessity of HIF signaling for all three preconditioning stimuli, and showed that the SphK/S1P pathway transduces tolerance via the S1P(1) receptor. In addition, our data suggest significant cross-talk between HIF and SphK2-produced S1P signaling, which together act to up-regulate CCL2 expression. Overall, HIF, SphK, S1P, and CCL2 participate in a signaling cascade to induce the gene expression responsible for the stroke-tolerant phenotype established by hypoxic and FTY720 preconditioning. The identification of these common molecular mediators involved in signaling the genomic response to multiple preconditioning stimuli provides several targets for therapeutic manipulation.

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