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Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 has duality in function between neuronal and astrocyte expression following neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic cerebral injury

Thei, L., Rocha-Ferreira, E., Peebles, D., Raivich, G. and Hristova, M. (2018) Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 has duality in function between neuronal and astrocyte expression following neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic cerebral injury. The Journal of Physiology, 596 (23). pp. 6043-6062. ISSN 0022-3751

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1113/jp275649

Abstract/Summary

Hypoxia–ischaemia (HI) is a major cause of neonatal brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cognitive impairment and other neurological disabilities. The role of extracellular signal‐regulated kinase (ERK) isoforms and their mitogen‐activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)‐dependent phosphorylation in HI has previously been explored but remains unresolved at cellular level. This is pertinent given the growing awareness of the role of non‐neuronal cells in neuroprotection. Using a modified Rice–Vannucci model of HI in the neonatal mouse we observed time‐ and cell‐dependent ERK phosphorylation (pERK), with strongly up‐regulated pERK immunoreactivity first in periventricular white matter axons within 15–45 min of HI, followed by forebrain astrocytes and neurons (1–4 h post‐HI), and return to baseline by 16 h. We explored the effects of pharmacological ERK blockade through the MEK inhibitor SL327 on neonatal HI‐brain damage following HI alone (30 or 60 min) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)‐sensitised HI insult (30 min). Global inhibition of ERK phosphorylation with systemically applied SL327 abolished forebrain pERK immunoreactivity, and significantly reduced cell death and associated microglial activation at 48 h post‐HI. We then explored the effects of cell‐specific ERK2 deletion alone or in combination with global ERK1 knockout under the same conditions of HI insult. Neuronal ERK2 deletion strongly decreased infarct size, neuronal cell death and microglial activation in grey matter following both HI alone or LPS‐sensitised HI. ERK1 deletion attenuated the protective effect of neuronal ERK2 deletion. Removal of astroglial ERK2 produced a reverse response, with a 3‐ to 4‐fold increase in microglial activation and cell death. Our data suggest a cell‐specific and time‐dependent role of ERK in neonatal HI, with a predominant, neurotoxic effect of neuronal ERK2, which is counteracted by neuroprotection by ERK1 and astrocytic ERK2. Overall, global pharmacological inhibition of ERK phosphorylation is strongly neuroprotective.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Division of Pharmacology
ID Code:78213
Publisher:Wiley

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