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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;48(1):42-53. doi: 10.1159/000491661. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

The Role of Alpha-Lipoic Acid in the Pathomechanism of Acute Ischemic Stroke.



Ischemic stroke results in increased cerebral infarction, neurological deficits and neuroinflammation. The underlying mechanisms involving the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of α-Lipoic acid (α-LA) remain poorly understood. Herein, we investigated the potential role of α-LA in a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) rat model and an in vitro lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced microglia inflammation model.


In the in vivo study, infarct volume was examined by TTC staining and Garcia score was used to evaluate neurologic recovery. The cytokines were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and protein expression of microglia phenotype and NF-κB were measured using western blot. In the in vitro study, the expressions of microglia M1/M2 phenotype were evaluated using qRT-PCR, and immunofluorescence staining was used to assess the nuclear translocation of NF-κB.


Both 20 mg/kg and 40 mg/kg of α-LA alleviated infarct size, brain edema, and neurological deficits. Furthermore, α-LA induced the polarization of microglia to the M2 phenotype, modulated the expression of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10, and attenuated the activation of NF-κB after MCAO. α-LA inhibited the expression of M1 markers, increased activation of the M2 markers, and suppressed the nuclear translocation of NF-κB in LPS-stimulated BV2 microglia.


α-LA improved neurological outcome in experimental stroke via modulating microglia M1/M2 polarization. The potential mechanism of α-LA might be mediated by inhibition of NF-κB activation via regulating phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of p65.


Inflammation; Microglia polarization; NF-κB; Stroke; α- lipoic acid

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