Signal Transduction in Focal Cerebral Ischemia : Experimental Studies on VEGF, MAPK and Src family kinases
Sammanfattning: Cerebral ischemia elicits a wide range of events, including complex activation of various intracellular signaling pathways. This study aims to investigate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the activation pattern of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in reponse to focal cerebral ischemia. Furtermore, the functional roles of the p38 MAPK and the Src family kinases (SFKs) are investigated with specific signal transduction inhibitors in the rat in vivo. VEGF was found upregulated in several cell types including neurons, glia and vascular cells after both permanent and transient cerebral ischemia. VEGF-receptor 1 (VEGFR1) was expressed in a similar manner, while VEGFR2 expression was more restricted and confined to endothelial cells and glia.The main MAPK pathways, including extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK), c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38, were differentially activated by cerebral ischemia. ERK activation was present in blood vessels, suggesting a potential role in neovascularization. JNK was also activated in blood vessels in the infarcted hemisphere, possibly reflecting an interaction with ERK, whereas p38 activity was absent in vessels. In neurons, ERK was activated in cortical cells up to days of survival, while no substantial JNK or p38 activation was seen in ischemic neurons. Invading macrophages showed distinct activation of p38 and to some extent also JNK but not ERK. Glia showed activation of all MAPK to a variable extent.Pretreatment with the p38-inhibitor SB203580 before transient cerebral ischemia (ischemia-reperfusion) was investigated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The experiment group suffered worse infarcts and blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage than controls, which contrasts to previous studies. The results might be attributed to interference with protective effects of the vehicle or with preconditioning mechanisms. The SFK-inhibitor PP2 significantly reduced infarct size after cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, which is consistent with previously reported effects in permanent ischemia. Due to the multifunctional role of SFKs, it cannot be easily concluded in exactly what cellular context(s) SFKs are of importance to cerebral ischemia.In conclusion, the VEGF and MAPK systems of extra- and intracellular signaling are activated in focal cerebral ischemia. Manipulation of p38 as well as SFK in vivo can influence the course of transient cerebral ischemia, which may be of significance to the understanding of the pathology of cerebral ischemia and to the development of therapeutic strategies.
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