Publications by authors named "Tauheed Ishrat"

88 Publications

Contralesional angiotensin type 2 receptor activation contributes to recovery in experimental stroke.

Neurochem Int 2022 Jun 7;158:105375. Epub 2022 Jun 7.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA; Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA. Electronic address:

We and others have previously shown that angiotensin II receptor type 2 receptor (AT2R) is upregulated in the contralesional hemisphere after stroke in normoglycemic Wistar rats. In this study, we examined the expression of AT2R in type 2 diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats and control Wistars after stroke. We also tested the contribution of the contralesional AT2R in recovery after stroke through a specific knockdown of the AT2R in this hemisphere only. Two experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, GK rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and treated with the angiotensin II receptor type 1 receptor (AT1R) blocker candesartan or saline at reperfusion. Stroke outcomes, as well as AT2R expression, were examined and compared to control Wistars at 24 h. In the second experiment, localized AT2R knockdown was achieved through intrastriatal injection of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) lentiviral particles or non-targeting control into the left-brain hemisphere of Wistar rats. After 14 days, rats were subjected to right MCAO and treated with the AT2R agonist, Compound 21 (C21), or saline for 7 days. Behavioral outcomes were assessed for up to 10 days. In the first experiment, stroke reduced the expression of AT2R in GK rats. Candesartan treatment failed to improve the neurobehavioral outcomes, preserve vascular integrity or reduce oxidative/nitrative stress or apoptotic markers at 24 h post stroke in these animals. In the second experiment, contralesional AT2R knockdown reduced the C21-mediated functional recovery after stroke. In conclusion, contralesional AT2R upregulation after stroke is blunted in diabetic rats which show reduced sensitivity to post-stroke candesartan treatment. Contralesional AT2R could be involved in C21-mediated functional recovery after stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2022.105375DOI Listing
June 2022

Transplantation of Exercise-Induced Extracellular Vesicles as a Promising Therapeutic Approach in Ischemic Stroke.

Transl Stroke Res 2022 May 21. Epub 2022 May 21.

Neuroscience Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Daneshjoo Blvd., Chamran Hwy., PO: 19615-1178, Tehran, Iran.

Clinical evidence affirms physical exercise is effective in preventive and rehabilitation approaches for ischemic stroke. This sustainable efficacy is independent of cardiovascular risk factors and associates substantial reprogramming in circulating extracellular vesicles (EVs). The intricate journey of pluripotent exercise-induced EVs from parental cells to the whole-body and infiltration to cerebrovascular entity offers several mechanisms to reduce stroke incidence and injury or accelerate the subsequent recovery. This review delineates the potential roles of EVs as prospective effectors of exercise. The candidate miRNA and peptide cargo of exercise-induced EVs with both atheroprotective and neuroprotective characteristics are discussed, along with their presumed targets and pathway interactions. The existing literature provides solid ground to hypothesize that the rich vesicles link exercise to stroke prevention and rehabilitation. However, there are several open questions about the exercise stressors which may optimally regulate EVs kinetic and boost brain mitochondrial adaptations. This review represents a novel perspective on achieving brain fitness against stroke through transplantation of multi-potential EVs generated by multi-parental cells, which is exceptionally reachable in an exercising body.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12975-022-01025-4DOI Listing
May 2022

Verapamil, a possible repurposed therapeutic candidate for stroke under hyperglycemia.

Neural Regen Res 2022 Nov;17(11):2418-2419

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Pharmaceutical Sciences, Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.335790DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9120686PMC
November 2022

Direct AT2R Stimulation Slows Post-stroke Cognitive Decline in the 5XFAD Alzheimer's Disease Mice.

Mol Neurobiol 2022 Jul 29;59(7):4124-4140. Epub 2022 Apr 29.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 875 Monroe Avenue, Wittenborg Bldg, Room-231, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Alzheimer's disease (AD), currently the single leading cause of death still on the rise, almost always coexists alongside vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). In fact, the ischemic disease affects up to 90% of AD patients, with strokes and major infarctions representing over a third of vascular lesions. Studies also confirmed that amyloid plaques, typical of AD, are much more likely to cause dementia if strokes or cerebrovascular damage also exist, leading to the term "mixed pathology" cognitive impairment. Although its incidence is expected to grow, there are no satisfactory treatments. There is hence an urgent need for safe and effective therapies that preserve cognition, maintain function, and prevent the clinical deterioration that results from the progression of this irreversible, neurodegenerative disease. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effects of long-term treatment with C21, a novel angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) agonist, on the development of "mixed pathology" cognitive impairment. This was accomplished using a unique model that employs the fundamental elements of both AD and VCI. Treatment with C21/vehicle was started 1 h post-stroke and continued for 5 weeks in mice with concurrent AD pathology. Efficacy was established through a series of functional tests assessing various aspects of cognition, including spatial learning, short-term/working memory, long-term/reference memory, and cognitive flexibility, in addition to the molecular markers characteristic of AD. Our findings demonstrate that C21 treatment preserves cognitive function, maintains cerebral blood flow, and reduces Aβ accumulation and toxic tau phosphorylation in AD animals post-stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-022-02839-xDOI Listing
July 2022

A Systematic Review of Inflammatory Cytokine Changes Following Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Animal Models and Humans.

Transl Stroke Res 2022 Mar 9. Epub 2022 Mar 9.

Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 875 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is a severe form of stroke that occurs following rupture of a cerebral aneurysm. Acute inflammation and secondary delayed inflammatory responses, both largely controlled by cytokines, work together to create high mortality and morbidity for this group. The trajectory and time course of cytokine change must be better understood in order to effectively manage unregulated inflammation and improve patient outcomes following aSAH. A systematic review was conducted following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Three different search phrases ("cytokines and subarachnoid hemorrhage," "cytokine levels and subarachnoid hemorrhage," and "cytokine measurement and subarachnoid hemorrhage") were applied across three databases (PubMed, SCOPUS, and the Cochrane Library). Our procedures returned 856 papers. After application of inclusion/exclusion criteria, 95 preclinical animal studies and 41 clinical studies remained. Across studies, 22 different cytokines had been investigated, 5 different tissue types were analyzed, and 3 animal models were utilized. Three main pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) demonstrated reliable increases following aSAH across the included studies. While this is a promising area of research for potential therapeutics, there are gaps in the knowledge base that bar progress for clinical translation of this information. In particular, there is a need for investigations that explore the systemic inflammatory response following injury in a more diverse number of cytokines, the balance of specific pro-/anti- inflammatory cytokines, and how these biomarkers relate to patient outcomes and recovery over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12975-022-01001-yDOI Listing
March 2022

Thioredoxin interacting protein, a key molecular switch between oxidative stress and sterile inflammation in cellular response.

World J Diabetes 2021 Dec;12(12):1979-1999

Department of Pharmacy, Doctors Hospital of Augusta, Augusta, GA 30909, United States.

Tissue and systemic inflammation have been the main culprit behind the cellular response to multiple insults and maintaining homeostasis. Obesity is an independent disease state that has been reported as a common risk factor for multiple metabolic and microvascular diseases including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), retinopathy, critical limb ischemia, and impaired angiogenesis. Sterile inflammation driven by high-fat diet, increased formation of reactive oxygen species, alteration of intracellular calcium level and associated release of inflammatory mediators, are the main common underlying forces in the pathophysiology of NAFLD, ischemic retinopathy, stroke, and aging brain. This work aims to examine the contribution of the pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP) to the expression and activation of NLRP3-inflammasome resulting in initiation or exacerbation of sterile inflammation in these disease states. Finally, the potential for TXNIP as a therapeutic target and whether TXNIP expression can be modulated using natural antioxidants or repurposing other drugs will be discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4239/wjd.v12.i12.1979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8696646PMC
December 2021

Diabetes Mellitus during the Pandemic Covid-19: Prevalence, Pathophysiology, Mechanism, and Management: An updated overview.

Curr Diabetes Rev 2022 ;18(3):e120721194712

Department of Pharmacognosy, King Saud University, Riyadh, 2457-11451, KSA.

Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is among the most frequently reported comorbidities in patients tainted with the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). With a high pervasiveness of diabetes mellitus, there is an urgency to understand the special aspects of COVID-19 in hyperglycemic patients. Diabetic patients are at higher risk than the general population of viral or bacterial infections, thus require special attention since diabetes is linked with severe, critical, and lethal modes of COVID-19.

Objective: The objective of this study was to focus on epidemiology, pathophysiology, mechanism, and management of DM with COVID-19.

Methods: The search was carried out on databases portals such as Pubmed, EMBASE, Google Scholar, and CINAHL with the keywords, i.e., COVID-19, coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, diabetes, covid-19, etc. Result: DM and COVID-19 disease conditions can impact each other in terms of clinical progression and outcome. Available laboratory/clinical observations suggest that hyperglycemia-induced immune dysfunction, inflated lactate grades, and cytokines storm may play critical roles in the seriousness of COVID-19 in patients with diabetes; however, the exact mechanisms linking diabetes and COVID-19 remain to be further clarified.

Conclusion: Standards to constrain the disease spread at the individual and community level are the key to extenuate the speedily rising pandemic, while definitive treatment, like plasma therapy, chemoprophylaxis, or vaccine for COVID-19, has yet to be discovered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1573399817666210712160651DOI Listing
May 2022

Acute Hyperglycemia Exacerbates Hemorrhagic Transformation after Embolic Stroke and Reperfusion with tPA: A Possible Role of TXNIP-NLRP3 Inflammasome.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2022 Feb 27;31(2):106226. Epub 2021 Nov 27.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA; Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis TN 38163, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: Acute hyperglycemia (HG) exacerbates reperfusion injury after stroke. Our recent studies showed that acute HG upregulates thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) expression, which in turn induces inflammation and neurovascular damage in a suture model of ischemic stroke. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of acute HG on TXNIP-associated neurovascular damage, in a more clinically relevant murine model of embolic stroke and intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA) reperfusion.

Materials And Methods: HG was induced in adult male mice, by intraperitoneal injection of 20% glucose. This was followed by embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion (eMCAO), with or without IV-tPA (10 mg/kg) given 3 h post embolization. Brain infarction, edema, hemoglobin content, expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9), vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), tight junction proteins (claudin-5, occluding, and zonula occludens-1), TXNIP, and NOD-like receptor protein3 (NLRP3)-inflammasome activation were evaluated at 24 h after eMCAO.

Results: HG alone significantly increased TXNIP in the brain after eMCAO, and this was associated with exacerbated hemorrhagic transformation (HT; as measured by hemoglobin content). IV-tPA in HG conditions showed a trend to decrease infarct volume, but worsened HT after eMCAO, suggesting that HG reduces the therapeutic efficacy of IV-tPA. Further, HG and tPA-reperfusion did not show significant differences in expression of MMP-9, VEGFA, junction proteins, and NLRP3 inflammasome activation between the groups.

Conclusion: The current findings suggest a potential role for TXNIP in the occurrence of HT in hyperglycemic conditions following eMCAO. Further studies are needed to understand the precise role of vascular TXNIP on HG/tPA-induced neurovascular damage after stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.106226DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8792268PMC
February 2022

Renin-Angiotensin System Alterations in the Human Alzheimer's Disease Brain.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;84(4):1473-1484

Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

Background: Understanding Alzheimer's disease (AD) in terms of its various pathophysiological pathways is essential to unravel the complex nature of the disease process and identify potential therapeutic targets. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has been implicated in several brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury, ischemic stroke, and AD.

Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the protein expression levels of RAS components in postmortem cortical and hippocampal brain samples obtained from AD versus non-AD individuals.

Methods: We analyzed RAS components in the cortex and hippocampus of postmortem human brain samples by western blotting and immunohistochemical techniques in comparison with age-matched non-demented controls.

Results: The expression of AT1R increased in the hippocampus, whereas AT2R expression remained almost unchanged in the cortical and hippocampal regions of AD compared to non-AD brains. The Mas receptor was downregulated in the hippocampus. We also detected slight reductions in ACE-1 protein levels in both the cortex and hippocampus of AD brains, with minor elevations in ACE-2 in the cortex. We did not find remarkable differences in the protein levels of angiotensinogen and Ang II in either the cortex or hippocampus of AD brains, whereas we observed a considerable increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hippocampus.

Conclusion: The current findings support the significant contribution of RAS components in AD pathogenesis, further suggesting that strategies focusing on the AT1R and AT2R pathways may lead to novel therapies for the management of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-215051DOI Listing
January 2022

Endothelial Thioredoxin-Interacting Protein Depletion Reduces Hemorrhagic Transformation in Hyperglycemic Mice after Embolic Stroke and Thrombolytic Therapy.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2021 Sep 27;14(10). Epub 2021 Sep 27.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.

We hypothesize that endothelial-specific thioredoxin-interacting protein knock-out (EC-TXNIP KO) mice will be more resistant to the neurovascular damage (hemorrhagic-transformation-HT) associated with hyperglycemia (HG) in embolic stroke. Adult-male EC-TXNIP KO and wild-type (WT) littermate mice were injected with-streptozotocin (40 mg/kg, i.p.) for five consecutive days to induce diabetes. Four-weeks after confirming HG, mice were subjected to embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion (eMCAO) followed by tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-reperfusion (10 mg/kg at 3 h post-eMCAO). After the neurological assessment, animals were sacrificed at 24 h for neurovascular stroke outcomes. There were no differences in cerebrovascular anatomy between the strains. Infarct size, edema, and HT as indicated by hemoglobin (Hb)-the content was significantly higher in HG-WT mice, with or without tPA-reperfusion, compared to normoglycemic WT mice. Hyperglycemic EC-TXNIP KO mice treated with tPA tended to show lower Hb-content, edema, infarct area, and less hemorrhagic score compared to WT hyperglycemic mice. EC-TXNIP KO mice showed decreased expression of inflammatory mediators, apoptosis-associated proteins, and nitrotyrosine levels. Further, vascular endothelial growth factor-A and matrix-metalloproteinases (MMP-9/MMP-3), which degrade junction proteins and increase blood-brain-barrier permeability, were decreased in EC-TXNIP KO mice. Together, these findings suggest that vascular-TXNIP could be a novel therapeutic target for neurovascular damage after stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ph14100983DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8537904PMC
September 2021

Repurposing verapamil for prevention of cognitive decline in sporadic Alzheimer's disease.

Neural Regen Res 2022 May;17(5):1018-1019

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Pharmaceutical Sciences, Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.324843DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8552840PMC
May 2022

Compound 21, a Direct AT2R Agonist, Induces IL-10 and Inhibits Inflammation in Mice Following Traumatic Brain Injury.

Neuromolecular Med 2021 Sep 20. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Recent studies demonstrated that the angiotensin type 2 receptor (AT2R) agonist, compound 21 (C21), provides neuroprotection and enhances recovery in experimental stroke. However, C21 has never been tested in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we aim to examine whether C21 confers protection after TBI. Unilateral cortical impact injury was induced in young adult C57BL/6 mice. C21 (0.03 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered at 1 h and 3 h post-TBI. After neurological severity score (NSS) assessments, all animals were sacrificed for immunoblotting analysis at 24 h post-TBI. C21 treatment significantly ameliorated NSS and reduced TBI's biomarkers [high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), aquaporin-4 (AQ4)] and inflammatory markers [interlukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)] in the pericontusional areas compared to saline TBI. Further, C21 treatment induced interleukin-10 (IL-10) and phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) after TBI. C21 also attenuated pro-apoptotic activation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and caspase-3. These findings support the therapeutic potential of C21 against TBI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12017-021-08687-7DOI Listing
September 2021

ER stress associated TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome activation in hippocampus of human Alzheimer's disease.

Neurochem Int 2021 09 18;148:105104. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA; Neuroscience Institute, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA. Electronic address:

Although the exact etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is poorly understood, experimental and clinical evidences suggest the contribution of neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of AD. Pathologically, AD brain is characterized by an imbalance in redox status, elevated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, synaptic dysfunction, inflammation, and progressive neurodegeneration. It has been noted that continuous accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD brain trigger ER stress, which contributes to neurodegeneration. Similarly, experimental evidences supports the hypothesis that thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), an endogenous regulator of redox regulator thioredoxin (TRX), is activated by ER stress and contributes to activation of NLRP3 (NOD-like receptor protein 3) inflammatory cascade in hippocampus of the AD brain. Hippocampus of postmortem human AD and aged matched non-AD controls were analyzed for the expression ER stress markers and TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome at cellular and molecular levels. We found higher expression of TXNIP at protein and transcript levels in close association with pathological markers of AD such as Aβ and NFTs in AD hippocampus. In addition, our results demonstrated that TXNIP was co-localized in neurons and microglia. Moreover, expression of binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP), activated eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIf2α) and C/EBP homology protein (CHOP), proteins involved the development of ER stress, were elevated in AD hippocampus. Further, elevated expression of effector molecules of NLRP3 inflammasome activation such as apoptosis associated speck-like protein (ASC), cleaved caspase-1 and cleaved interleukin-1β were observed in the AD hippocampus. The study suggests that TXNIP could be a link that connect ER stress with neuroinflammation. Thus, TXNIP can be a possible therapeutic target to mitigate the progression of neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2021.105104DOI Listing
September 2021

Thioredoxin interacting protein regulates age-associated neuroinflammation.

Neurobiol Dis 2021 08 21;156:105399. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, United States of America; Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA. Electronic address:

Immune system hypersensitivity is believed to contribute to mental frailty in the elderly. Solid evidence indicates NOD-like receptor pyrin domain containing-3 (NLRP3)-inflammasome activation intimately connects aging-associated chronic inflammation (inflammaging) to senile cognitive decline. Thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP), an inducible protein involved in oxidative stress, is essential for NLRP3 inflammasome activity. This study aims to find whether TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome pathway is involved in senile dementia. According to our studies on sex-matched mice, TXNIP was significantly upregulated in aged animals, paralleled by the NLRP3-inflammasome over-activity leading to enhanced caspase-1 cleavage and IL-1β maturation, in both sexes. This was closely associated with depletion of the anti-aging and cognition enhancing protein klotho, in aged males. Txnip knockout reversed age-related NLRP3-hyperactivity and enhanced thioredoxin (TRX) levels. Further, TXNIP inhibition along with verapamil replicated TXNIP/NLRP3-inflammasome downregulation in aged animals, with FOXO-1 and mTOR upregulation. These alterations concurred with substantial improvements in both cognitive and sensorimotor abilities. Together, these findings substantiate the pivotal role of TXNIP to drive inflammaging in parallel with klotho depletion and functional decline, and delineate thioredoxin system as a potential target to decelerate senile dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277763PMC
August 2021

Verapamil as an Adjunct Therapy to Reduce tPA Toxicity in Hyperglycemic Stroke: Implication of TXNIP/NLRP3 Inflammasome.

Mol Neurobiol 2021 Aug 13;58(8):3792-3804. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 875 Monroe Avenue, Wittenborg Bldg, Room-231, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Thrombolytic therapy has remained quite challenging in hyperglycemic patients for its association with poor prognosis and increased hemorrhagic conversions. We recently showed that tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-induced cerebrovascular damage is associated with thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) upregulation, which has an established role in the detrimental effects of hyperglycemia. In the present work, we investigated whether verapamil, an established TXNIP inhibitor, may provide protection against hyperglycemic stroke and tPA-induced blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption. Acute hyperglycemia was induced by intraperitoneal administration of 20% glucose, 15 min prior to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Verapamil (0.15 mg/kg) or saline was intravenously infused with tPA at hyperglycemic reperfusion, 1 h post tMCAO. After 24 h of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), mice were assessed for neurobehavioral deficits followed by sacrifice and evaluation of brain infarct volume, edema, and microbleeding. Alterations in TXNIP, inflammatory mediators, and BBB markers were further analyzed using immunoblotting or immunostaining techniques. As adjunctive therapy, verapamil significantly reduced tPA-induced BBB leakage, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) upregulation, and tight junction protein deregulation, which resulted in lesser hemorrhagic conversions. Importantly, verapamil strongly reversed tPA-induced TXNIP/NLRP3 (NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing-3) inflammasome activation and reduced infarct volume. This concurred with a remarkable decrease in high-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) stimulation, leading to less priming of NLRP3 inflammasome. This preclinical study supports verapamil as a safe adjuvant that may complement thrombolytic therapy by inhibiting TXNIP's detrimental role in hyperglycemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-021-02384-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282727PMC
August 2021

Manifestation of renin angiotensin system modulation in traumatic brain injury.

Metab Brain Dis 2021 08 9;36(6):1079-1086. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine, 855 Monroe Avenue, Wittenborg Building, Room-231, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) alters brain function and is a crucial public health concern worldwide. TBI triggers the release of inflammatory mediators (cytokines) that aggravate cerebral damage, thereby affecting clinical prognosis. The renin angiotensin system (RAS) plays a critical role in TBI pathophysiology. RAS is widely expressed in many organs including the brain. Modulation of the RAS in the brain via angiotensin type 1 (AT) and type 2 (AT) receptor signaling affects many pathophysiological processes, including TBI. ATR is highly expressed in neurons and astrocytes. The upregulation of ATR mediates the effects of angiotensin II (ANG II) including release of proinflammatory cytokines, cell death, oxidative stress, and vasoconstriction. The ATR, mainly expressed in the fetal brain during development, is also related to cognitive function. Activation of this receptor pathway decreases neuroinflammation and oxidative stress and improves overall cell survival. Numerous studies have illustrated the therapeutic potential of inhibiting ATR and activating ATR for treatment of TBI with variable outcomes. In this review, we summarize studies that describe the role of brain RAS signaling, through ATR and ATR in TBI, and its modulation with pharmacological approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11011-021-00728-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8273091PMC
August 2021

Verapamil Prevents Development of Cognitive Impairment in an Aged Mouse Model of Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease.

Mol Neurobiol 2021 Jul 11;58(7):3374-3387. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Currently, dementia is the only leading cause of death that is still on the rise, with total costs already exceeding those of cancer and heart disease and projected to increase even further in the coming years. Unfortunately, there are no satisfactory treatments and attempts to develop novel, more effective treatments have been extremely costly, albeit unsuccessful thus far. This has led us to investigate the use of established drugs, licensed for other therapeutic indications, for their potential application in cognitive disorders. This strategy, referred to as "drug repositioning," has been successful in many other areas including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effects of long-term treatment with verapamil, a calcium channel blocker commonly prescribed for various cardiovascular conditions and recently applied for prevention of cluster headaches, on the development of cognitive impairment in aged animals. Verapamil was studied at a low dose (1mg/kg/d) in a mouse model of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (sAD). Oral treatment with verapamil or vehicle was started, 24 h post-intracerebroventricular (ICV) streptozotocin/(STZ), in 12-month-old animals and continued for 3 months. Cognitive function was assessed using established tests for spatial learning, short-term/working memory, and long-term/reference memory. Our findings demonstrate that long-term low-dose verapamil effectively prevents development of ICV/STZ-induced cognitive impairment. It mitigates the astrogliosis and synaptic toxicity otherwise induced by ICV/STZ in the hippocampus of aged animals. These findings indicate that long-term, low-dose verapamil may delay progression of sAD in susceptible subjects of advanced age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-021-02350-9DOI Listing
July 2021

The NLRP3 inflammasome: a potential therapeutic target for traumatic brain injury.

Neural Regen Res 2021 Jan;16(1):49-57

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Neuroscience Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

Although the precise mechanisms contributing to secondary brain injury following traumatic brain injury are complex and obscure, a number of studies have demonstrated that inflammatory responses are an obvious and early feature in the pathogenesis of traumatic brain injury. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that prompt the stimulation of caspase-1 and subsequently induce the maturation and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. These cytokines play a pivotal role in facilitating innate immune responses and inflammation. Among various inflammasome complexes, the NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is the best characterized, a crucial role for NLRP3 has been demonstrated in various brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury. Several recent studies have revealed the contribution of NLRP3 inflammasome in identifying cellular damage and stimulating inflammatory responses to aseptic tissue injury after traumatic brain injury. Even more important, blocking or inhibiting the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome may have substantial potential to salvage tissue damage during traumatic brain injury. In this review, we summarize recently described mechanisms that are involved in the activation and regulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Moreover, we review the recent investigations on the contribution of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the pathophysiology of TBI, and current advances and challenges in potential NLRP3-targeted therapies. A significant contribution of NLRP3 inflammasome activation to traumatic brain injury implies that therapeutic approaches focused on targeting specific inflammasome components could significantly improve the traumatic brain injury outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.286951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818859PMC
January 2021

HIV Associated Risk Factors for Ischemic Stroke and Future Perspectives.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jul 26;21(15). Epub 2020 Jul 26.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.

Although retroviral therapy (ART) has changed the HIV infection from a fatal event to a chronic disease, treated HIV patients demonstrate high prevalence of HIV associated comorbidities including cardio/cerebrovascular diseases. The incidence of stroke in HIV infected subjects is three times higher than that of uninfected controls. Several clinical and postmortem studies have documented the higher incidence of ischemic stroke in HIV infected patients. The etiology of stroke in HIV infected patients remains unknown; however, several factors such as coagulopathies, opportunistic infections, vascular abnormalities, atherosclerosis and diabetes can contribute to the pathogenesis of stroke. In addition, chronic administration of ART contributes to the increased risk of stroke in HIV infected patients. Concurrently, experimental studies in murine model of ischemic stroke demonstrated that HIV infection worsens stroke outcome, increases blood brain barrier permeability and increases neuroinflammation. Additionally, residual HIV viral proteins, such as Trans-Activator of Transcription, glycoprotein 120 and Negative regulatory factor, contribute to the pathogenesis. This review presents comprehensive information detailing the risk factors contributing to ischemic stroke in HIV infected patients. It also outlines experimental evidence demonstrating the impact of HIV infection on stroke outcomes, in addition to possible novel therapeutic approaches to improve these outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7432359PMC
July 2020

The Brain AT2R-a Potential Target for Therapy in Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment: a Comprehensive Review of Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics.

Mol Neurobiol 2020 Aug 12;57(8):3458-3484. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 855 Monroe Avenue, Wittenborg Bldg, Room-231, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Dementia is a potentially avertable tragedy, currently considered among the top 10 greatest global health challenges of the twenty-first century. Dementia not only robs individuals of their dignity and independence, it also has a ripple effect that starts with the inflicted individual's family and projects to the society as a whole. The constantly growing number of cases, along with the lack of effective treatments and socioeconomic impact, poses a serious threat to the sustainability of our health care system. Hence, there is a worldwide effort to identify new targets for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the leading cause of dementia. Due to its multifactorial etiology and the recent clinical failure of several novel amyloid-β (Aβ) targeting therapies, a comprehensive "multitarget" approach may be most appropriate for managing this condition. Interestingly, renin angiotensin system (RAS) modulators were shown to positively impact all the factors involved in the pathophysiology of dementia including vascular dysfunction, Aβ accumulation, and associated cholinergic deficiency, in addition to tau hyperphosphorylation and insulin derangements. Furthermore, for many of these drugs, the preclinical evidence is also supported by epidemiological data and/or preliminary clinical trials. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive update on the major causes of dementia including the risk factors, current diagnostic criteria, pathophysiology, and contemporary treatment strategies. Moreover, we highlight the angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AT2R) as an effective drug target and present ample evidence supporting its potential role and clinical applications in cognitive impairment to encourage further investigation in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-020-01964-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8109287PMC
August 2020

Tissue Plasminogen Activator Promotes TXNIP-NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation after Hyperglycemic Stroke in Mice.

Mol Neurobiol 2020 Jun 14;57(6):2495-2508. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 875 Monroe Avenue, Wittenborg Bldg, Room-231, Memphis, TN, 38163, USA.

Hyperglycemia has been shown to counterbalance the beneficial effects of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and increase the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage in ischemic stroke. Thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP) mediates hyperglycemia-induced oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain and reduces cerebral glucose uptake/utilization. We have recently reported that TXNIP-induced NLRP3 (NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing-3) inflammasome activation contributes to neuronal damage after ischemic stroke. Here, we tested the hypothesis that tPA induces TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome activation after ischemic stroke, in hyperglycemic mice. Acute hyperglycemia was induced in mice by intraperitoneal (IP) administration of a 20% glucose solution. This was followed by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (t-MCAO), with or without intravenous (IV) tPA administered at reperfusion. The IV-tPA exacerbated hyperglycemia-induced neurological deficits, ipsilateral edema and hemorrhagic transformation, and accentuated peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) upregulation and TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome activation after ischemic stroke. Higher expression of TXNIP in hyperglycemic t-MCAO animals augmented glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1) downregulation and increased vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) expression/matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9) signaling, all of which result in blood brain barrier (BBB) disruption and increased permeability to endogenous immunoglobulin G (IgG). It was also associated with a discernible buildup of nitrotyrosine and accumulation of dysfunctional tight junction proteins: zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin and claudin-5. Moreover, tPA administration triggered activation of high mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB-1), nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) expression in the ischemic penumbra of hyperglycemic animals. All of these observations suggest a powerful role for TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the tPA-induced toxicity seen with hyperglycemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-020-01893-7DOI Listing
June 2020

Extracellular Vesicles: A Possible Link between HIV and Alzheimer's Disease-Like Pathology in HIV Subjects?

Cells 2019 08 24;8(9). Epub 2019 Aug 24.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 881 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.

The longevity of people with HIV/AIDS has been prolonged with the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The age-related complications, especially cognitive deficits, rise as HIV patients live longer. Deposition of beta-amyloid (Aβ), a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD), has been observed in subjects with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Various mechanisms such as neuroinflammation induced by HIV proteins (e.g., Tat, gp120, Nef), excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and the use of ART contribute to the deposition of Aβ, leading to dementia. However, progressive dementia in older subjects with HIV might be due to HAND, AD, or both. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs)/exosomes, have gained recognition for their importance in understanding the pathology of both HAND and AD. EVs can serve as a possible link between HIV and AD, due to their ability to package and transport the toxic proteins implicated in both AD and HIV (Aβ/tau and gp120/tat, respectively). Given that Aß is also elevated in neuron-derived exosomes isolated from the plasma of HIV patients, it is reasonable to suggest that neuron-to-neuron exosomal transport of Aβ and tau also contributes to AD-like pathology in HIV-infected subjects. Therefore, exploring exosomal contents is likely to help distinguish HAND from AD. However, future prospective clinical studies need to be conducted to compare the exosomal contents in the plasma of HIV subjects with and without HAND as well as those with and without AD. This would help to find new markers and develop new treatment strategies to treat AD in HIV-positive subjects. This review presents comprehensive literatures on the mechanisms contributing to Aβ deposition in HIV-infected cells, the role of EVs in the propagation of Aβ in AD, the possible role of EVs in HIV-induced AD-like pathology, and finally, possible therapeutic targets or molecules to treat HIV subjects with AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8090968DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769601PMC
August 2019

Angiotensin II type 2 receptor stimulation with compound 21 improves neurological function after stroke in female rats: a pilot study.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2019 05 1;316(5):H1192-H1201. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Georgia, College of Pharmacy , Augusta, Georgia.

The angiotensin II type 2 receptor (ATR) agonist, compound 21 (C21), has been shown to be neurovascularly protective after ischemic stroke in male rats. In the current study, we aim to study the impact of C21 treatment on female rats. Young female Wistar rats were subjected to different durations of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) (3 h, 2 h, and 1 h) using a silicone-coated monofilament, treated at reperfusion with 0.03 mg/kg ip of C21 and followed up for different times (1, 3, and 14 days) after stroke. Behavioral tests were performed (Bederson, paw grasp, beam walk, and rotarod), and animals were euthanized for infarct size analysis and Western blot analysis. In vitro, primary male and female brain microvascular endothelial cells (ECs) were grown in culture, and the expression of the ATR was compared between males and females. At 1 day, C21 treatment resulted in an improvement in Bederson scores. However, at 3 days and 14 days, the impact of C21 on stroke outcomes was less robust. In vitro, the expression of the ATR was significantly higher in female ECs compared with male ECs. In conclusion, C21 improves Bederson scores after stroke in female rats when administered early at reperfusion. The ability of C21 to exert its neuroprotective effects might be affected by fluctuating levels of female hormones. The present study shows the neuroprotective impact of C21 on ischemic stroke in female rats and how the protective effects of C21 can be influenced by the hormonal status of female rodents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00446.2018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6580399PMC
May 2019

Thioredoxin-Interacting Protein (TXNIP) Associated NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Human Alzheimer's Disease Brain.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;68(1):255-265

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of age-associated dementia characterized by amyloid-β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Recent studies have demonstrated that thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), an endogenous regulator of redox/glucose induced stress and inflammation, is now known to be upregulated in stroke, traumatic brain injury, diabetes and AD. We hypothesized that TXNIP overexpression sustains neurodegeneration through activation of the nucleotide binding and oligomerization domain-like receptor protein 3 in human AD brains. We analyzed TXNIP and the components of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the cortex of postmortem human brain samples by western blotting, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemical techniques in comparison with age-matched non-demented controls. Our results demonstrate that TXNIP protein as well as its mRNA levels in the cortex was significantly upregulated in AD compared to control brains. Moreover, using double immunofluorescence staining, TXNIP and interlukin-1β (IL-1β) were co-localized near Aβ plaques and p-tau. These results suggest an association between TXNIP overexpression levels and AD pathogenesis. Further, a significant increased expression of cleaved caspase-1 and IL-1β, the products of inflammasome activation, was detected in the cortex of AD brains. Together, these findings suggest that TXNIP, an upstream promising new therapeutic target, is a molecular link between inflammation and AD. The significant contribution of TXNIP to AD pathology suggests that strategies focusing on specific targeting of the TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome may lead to novel therapies for the management of AD and other age-related dementias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180814DOI Listing
June 2020

Metabolic Syndrome, Brain Insulin Resistance, and Alzheimer's Disease: Thioredoxin Interacting Protein (TXNIP) and Inflammasome as Core Amplifiers.

J Alzheimers Dis 2018 ;66(3):857-885

Empirical evidence indicates a strong association between insulin resistance and pathological alterations related to Alzheimer's disease (AD) in different cerebral regions. While cerebral insulin resistance is not essentially parallel with systemic metabolic derangements, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been established as a risk factor for AD. The circulating "toxic metabolites" emerging in metabolic syndrome may engage several biochemical pathways to promote oxidative stress and neuroinflammation leading to impair insulin function in the brain or "type 3 diabetes". Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) as an intracellular amplifier of oxidative stress and inflammasome activation may presumably mediate central insulin resistance. Emerging data including those from our recent studies has demonstrated a sharp TXNIP upregulation in stroke, aging and AD and well underlining the significance of this hypothesis. With the main interest to illustrate TXNIP place in type 3 diabetes, the present review primarily briefs the potential mechanisms contributing to cerebral insulin resistance in a metabolically deranged environment. Then with a particular focus on plausible TXNIP functions to drive and associate with AD pathology, we present the most recent evidence supporting TXNIP as a promising therapeutic target in AD as an age-associated dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180735DOI Listing
November 2019

Angiotensin receptor (AT2R) agonist C21 prevents cognitive decline after permanent stroke in aged animals-A randomized double- blind pre-clinical study.

Behav Brain Res 2019 02 5;359:560-569. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, Augusta, GA, United States; Departments of Neurology, Augusta University, Augusta, GA, United States. Electronic address:

Post stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI) is an understudied, long-term complication of stroke, impacting nearly 30-40% of all stroke survivors. No cure is available once the cognitive deterioration manifests. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the long-term effects of C21 treatment on the development of PSCI in aged animals. Treatments with C21 or vehicle were administered orally, 24 h post-stroke, and continued for 30 days. Outcome measures for sensorimotor and cognitive function were performed using a sequence of tests, all blindly conducted and assessed at baseline as well as at different time points post-stroke. Our findings demonstrate that the angiotensin receptor (AT2R) agonist C21 effectively prevents the development of PSCI in aged animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371811PMC
February 2019

RAS modulation prevents progressive cognitive impairment after experimental stroke: a randomized, blinded preclinical trial.

J Neuroinflammation 2018 Aug 13;15(1):229. Epub 2018 Aug 13.

Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, HM Bldg., 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA, 30912, USA.

Background: With the aging population, the prevalence and incidence of cerebrovascular disease will continue to rise, as well as the number of individuals with vascular cognitive impairment/dementia (VCID). No specific FDA-approved treatments for VCID exist. Although clinical evidence supports that angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) prevent cognitive decline in older adults, whether ARBs have a similar effect on VCID after stroke is unknown. Moreover, these agents reduce BP, which is undesirable in the acute stroke period, so we believe that giving C21 in this acute phase or delaying ARB administration would enable us to achieve the neurovascular benefits without the risk of unintended and potentially dangerous, acute BP lowering.

Methods: The aim of our study was to determine the impact of candesartan (ARB) or compound-21 (an angiotensin type 2 receptor--AT2R--agonist) on long-term cognitive function post-stroke, in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). We hypothesized that AT2R stimulation, either directly with C21, or indirectly by blocking the angiotensin type 1 receptor (AT1R) with candesartan, initiated after stroke, would reduce cognitive impairment. Animals were subjected to a 60-min transient middle cerebral artery occlusion and randomly assigned to either saline/C21 monotherapy, for the full study duration (30 days), or given sequential therapy starting with saline/C21 (7 days) followed by candesartan for the remainder of the study (21 days). Outcome measures included sensorimotor/cognitive-function, amyloid-β determination, and histopathologic analyses.

Results: Treatment with RAS modulators effectively preserved cognitive function, reduced cytotoxicity, and prevented chronic-reactive microgliosis in SHRs, post-stroke. These protective effects were apparent even when treatment was delayed up to 7 days post-stroke and were independent of blood pressure and β-amyloid accumulation.

Conclusion: Collectively, our findings demonstrate that RAS modulators effectively prevent cognitive impairment after stroke, even when treatment is delayed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12974-018-1262-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6090822PMC
August 2018

Silencing VEGF-B Diminishes the Neuroprotective Effect of Candesartan Treatment After Experimental Focal Cerebral Ischemia.

Neurochem Res 2018 Oct 7;43(10):1869-1878. Epub 2018 Aug 7.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, and Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia, Augusta, GA, USA.

The pro-survival effect of VEGF-B has been documented in different in vivo and in vitro models. We have previously shown an enhanced VEGF-B expression in response to candesartan treatment after focal cerebral ischemia. In this study, we aimed to silence VEGF-B expression to assess its contribution to candesartan's benefit on stroke outcome. Silencing VEGF-B expression was achieved by bilateral intracerebroventricular injections of lentiviral particles containing short hairpin RNA (shRNA) against VEGF-B. Two weeks after lentiviral injections, rats were subjected to either 90 min or 3 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and randomized to intravenous candesartan (1 mg/kg) or saline at reperfusion. Animals were sacrificed at 24 or 72 h and brains were collected and analyzed for hemoglobin (Hb) excess and infarct size, respectively. Functional outcome at 24, 48 and 72 h was assessed blindly. Candesartan treatment improved neurobehavioral and motor function, and decreased infarct size and Hb. While silencing VEGF-B expression diminished candesartan's neuroprotective effect, candesartan-mediated vascular protection was maintained even in the absence of VEGF-B suggesting that this growth factor is not the mediator of candesartan's vascular protective effects. However, VEGF-B is a mediator of neuroprotection achieved by candesartan and represents a potential drug target to improve stroke outcome. Further studies are needed to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of VEGF-B in neuroprotection and recovery after ischemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11064-018-2604-xDOI Listing
October 2018

Inhibition of the NLRP3-inflammasome as a potential approach for neuroprotection after stroke.

Sci Rep 2018 04 13;8(1):5971. Epub 2018 Apr 13.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

Activation of the NOD-like receptor protein (NLRP3)-inflammasome has been postulated to mediate inflammatory responses to brain damage during ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury. We therefore hypothesized that MCC950, a selective NLRP3-inflammasome inhibitor provides protection in mouse model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Focal cerebral ischemia was induced by 60 min tMCAO followed by intraperitoneal administration of MCC950 (50 mg/kg) or saline at 1 h and 3 h post-occlusion. After 24 h of I/R, mice were tested for neurological outcome and were sacrificed for the analysis of infarct size and estimating NLRP3-inflammasome and apoptotic markers as well. Spectrophotometric method was used to determine hemoglobin (Hb) content as a marker of intracerebral hemorrhage. MCC950-treated mice showed a substantial reduction in infarction, edema and Hb content compared to saline controls in parallel with improved neurological deficits. MCC950 reduced expression of NLRP3-inflammasome cleavage products Caspase-1 and interlukin-1β (IL-1β) in penumbral region. These protective effects of MCC950 were associated with decreased TNF-α levels as well as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and Caspase-3 cleavage and paralleled less phosphrylated NFκBp65 and IκBα levels. Taken together, these data indicate that inhibition of NLRP3-inflammasome with MCC950 has therapeutic potential in ischemic stroke models. Further investigations into the therapeutic efficacy and protocols are needed to confirm whether MCC950 treatment could be a promising candidate for clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-24350-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5899150PMC
April 2018

Dose-response, therapeutic time-window and tPA-combinatorial efficacy of compound 21: A randomized, blinded preclinical trial in a rat model of thromboembolic stroke.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2019 08 14;39(8):1635-1647. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

2 Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, and Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

The aim of this translational, randomized, controlled, blinded preclinical trial was to determine the effect of compound 21 (C21) in embolic stroke. Rats were subjected to embolic-middle cerebral artery occlusion (eMCAO). They received C21 (0.01, 0.03 and 0.06 mg/kg/d) or saline (orally) for five days, with the first-dose given IV at 3 h post-eMCAO. For the time-window study, the optimal-dose of C21 was initiated at 3, 6 or 24 h post-eMCAO and continued for five days. For the combinatorial study, animals received IV-tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) at either 2 or 4 h, with IV-C21 (0.01 mg/kg) or saline at 3 h post-eMCAO and daily thereafter for five days. After performing the behavior tests, brains were collected for analyses. The dose-response study showed significant motor improvements with the lowest-dose (0.01 mg/kg) of C21. In the time-window study, this same dose resulted in improvements when given 6 h and 24 h post-eMCAO. Moreover, C21-treated animals performed better on the novel object recognition test. Neither the single treatment with C21 or tPA (4 h) nor the combination therapy was effective in reducing the hemorrhage or infarct size, although C21 alone lowered sensorimotor deficit scores post-eMCAO. Future studies should focus on the long-term cognitive benefits of C21, rather than acute neuroprotection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X18764773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6681526PMC
August 2019
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