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J Neurotrauma. 2015 Oct 15;32(20):1608-20. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3772. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Inhibition of Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2 Alpha Phosphatase Reduces Tissue Damage and Improves Learning and Memory after Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury.

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1 Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston , Houston, Texas.
2 Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University , Carbondale, Illinois.


Patients who survive traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often faced with persistent memory deficits. The hippocampus, a structure critical for learning and memory, is vulnerable to TBI and its dysfunction has been linked to memory impairments. Protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase regulates protein synthesis (by phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha [eIF2α]) in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stressors, such as increases in calcium levels, oxidative damage, and energy/glucose depletion, all of which have been implicated in TBI pathophysiology. Exposure of cells to guanabenz has been shown to increase eIF2α phosphorylation and reduce ER stress. Using a rodent model of TBI, we present experimental results that indicate that postinjury administration of 5.0 mg/kg of guanabenz reduced cortical contusion volume and decreased hippocampal cell damage. Moreover, guanabenz treatment attenuated TBI-associated motor, vestibulomotor, recognition memory, and spatial learning and memory dysfunction. Interestingly, when the initiation of treatment was delayed by 24 h, or the dose reduced to 0.5 mg/kg, some of these beneficial effects were still observed. Taken together, these findings further support the involvement of ER stress signaling in TBI pathophysiology and indicate that guanabenz may have translational utility.


CHOP; ER stress; TBI; hippocampus; phosphatase

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