Functional Recovery after Experimental Stroke in Rats.

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PPAR-γ Mediates Ta-VNS-Induced Angiogenesis and Subsequent Functional Recovery after Experimental Stroke in Rats.

Background: Neoangiogenesis after cerebral ischemia in mammals is insufficient to restore neurological function, illustrating the need to design better strategies for improving outcomes. Our previous study has suggested that transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (ta-VNS) induced angiogenesis and improved neurological functions in a rat model of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, the mechanisms involved need further exploration. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ), well known as a ligand-modulated nuclear transcription factor, plays a crucial role in the regulation of cerebrovascular structure and function. Hence, the present study was designed to explore the role of PPAR-γ in ta-VNS-mediated angiogenesis and uncover the possible molecular mechanisms against ischemic stroke.
Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were transfected with either PPAR-γ small interfering RNA (siRNA) or lentiviral vector without siRNA prior to surgery and subsequently received ta-VNS treatment. The expression and localization of PPAR-γ in the ischemic boundary after ta-VNS treatment were examined. Subsequently, neurological deficit scores, neuronal damage, and infarct volume were all evaluated. Additionally, microvessel density, endothelial cell proliferation condition, and the expression of angiogenesis-related molecules in the peri-infarct cortex were measured.
Results: We found that the expression of PPAR-γ in the peri-infarct cortex increased at 14 d and reached normal levels at 28 d after reperfusion. Ta-VNS treatment further upregulated PPAR-γ expression in the ischemic cortex. PPAR-γ was mainly expressed in neurons and astrocytes. Furthermore, ta-VNS-treated I/R rats showed better neurobehavioral recovery, alleviated neuronal injury, reduced infarct volume, and increased angiogenesis, as indicated by the elevated levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase (P-eNOS). Surprisingly, the beneficial effects of ta-VNS were weakened after PPAR-γ silencing.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that PPAR-γ is a potential mediator of ta-VNS-induced angiogenesis and neuroprotection against cerebral I/R injury.

PMID: 32775443 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Biomed Res Int. 2020;2020:8163789

Authors: Li J, Zhang K, Zhang Q, Zhou X, Wen L, Ma J, Niu L, Li C