MicroRNA-mediated regulation of Nrf2 signaling pathway: Implications in disease therapy and protection against oxidative stress
MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding pieces of RNA that are involved in a variety of physiologic processes such as apoptosis, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, cell cycle and cell survival. These multifunctional nucleotides are also capable of preventing oxidative damages by modulating antioxidant defense systems in a variety of milieu, such as in diabetes. Although the exact molecular mechanisms by which miRs modulate the antioxidant defense elements are unclear, some evidence suggests that they may exert these effects via nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway. This intracellular mechanism is crucial in the maintenance of the physiologic redox balance by regulating the expression and activity of various cellular antioxidative defense elements and thereby plays a pivotal role in the development of oxidative stress. Any impairment in the Nrf2 signaling pathway may result in oxidative damage-dependent complications such as various diabetic complications, neurological disorders and cancer. In the current review, we discuss the modulatory effects of miRs on the Nrf2 signaling pathway, which can potentially be novel therapeutic targets.
Ischemic preconditioning provides long-lasting neuroprotection against ischemic stroke: The role of Nrf2
A major gap in the field of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) is whether or not long-lasting neuroprotection can be achieved. Moreover, the specific mechanisms underlying IPC and how they can be translated into the clinic remain uncertain. To fill these gaps, we tested the hypothesis that IPC exerts long-lasting structural and functional neuroprotection against ischemic stroke through the master gatekeeper of antioxidant defenses, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). We also tested whether the brain could be pharmaceutically preconditioned with a potent and blood-brain barrier-permeable Nrf2 activator, 2-cyano-3,12-dioxo-oleana-1,9(11)-dien-28-trifluoethyl amide (CDDO-TFEA).
Ghrelin attenuates secondary brain injury following intracerebral hemorrhage by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and promoting Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway in mice
Ghrelin, a brain-gut peptide, has been proven to exert neuroprotection in different kinds of neurological diseases; however, its role and the potential molecular mechanisms in secondary brain injury (SBI) after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) are still unknown. In this study, we investigate whether treatment with ghrelin may attenuate SBI in a murine ICH model, and if so, whether the neuroprotective effects are due to the inhibition of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation and promotion of nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidative response element (ARE) signaling pathway. Stereotactically intrastriatal infusion of autologous blood was performed to mimic ICH. Ghrelin was given intraperitoneally immediately following ICH and again 1 h later. Results showed that ghrelin attenuated neurobehavioral deficits, brain edema, hematoma volume, and perihematomal cell death post-ICH. Ghrelin inhibited the NLRP3 inflammasome activation and subsequently suppressed the neuroinflammatory response as evidenced by reduced microglia activation, neutrophil infiltration, and pro-inflammatory mediators release after ICH. Additionally, ghrelin alleviated ICH-induced oxidative stress according to the chemiluminescence of luminol and lucigenin, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and total superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity assays. These changes were accompanied by upregulation of Nrf2 expression, Nrf2 nuclear accumulation, and enhanced Nrf2 DNA binding activity, as well as by increased expressions of Nrf2 downstream target antioxidative genes, including NAD(P)H quinine oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1), glutathione cysteine ligase regulatory subunit (GCLC), and glutathione cysteine ligase modulatory subunit (GCLM). Together, our data suggested that ghrelin protected against ICH-induced SBI by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and promoting Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway.
Regulatory effects of dihydrolipoic acid against inorganic mercury-mediated cytotoxicity and intrinsic apoptosis in PC12 cells
Mercury (Hg) is an extremely dangerous environmental contaminant, responsible for human diseases including neurological disorders. However, the mechanisms of inorganic Hg (iHg)-induced cell death and toxicity are little known. Dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) is the reduced form of a naturally occurring compound lipoic acid, which act as a potent antioxidant through multiple mechanisms. So we hypothesized that DHLA has an inhibitory role on iHg-cytotoxicity. The purposes of this research were to investigate mechanism/s of cytotoxicity of iHg, as well as, the cyto-protection of DHLA against iHg induced toxicity using PC12 cells. Treatment of PC12 cells with HgCl (Hg) (0-2.5 μM) for 48 h resulted in significant toxic effects, such as, cell viability loss, high level of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, DNA damage, cellular glutathione (GSH) level decrease and increased Hg accumulation. In addition, protein level expressions of akt, p-akt, mTOR, GR, NFkB, ERK1, Nrf2 and HO-1 in cells were downregulated; and cleaved caspase 3 and cytochrome c release were upregulated after Hg (2.5 μM) exposure and thus inducing apoptosis. Hginduced apoptosis was also confirmed by flow cytometry. However, pretreatment with DHLA (50 μM) for 3 h before Hg (2.5 μM) exposure showed inhibition against iHg-induced cytotoxicity by reversing cell viability loss, LDH release, DNA damage, GSH decrease and inhibiting Hg accumulation. Moreover, DHLA pretreatment reversed the protein level expressions of akt, p-akt, mTOR, GR, NFkB, ERK1, Nrf2, HO-1, cleaved caspase 3 and cytochrome c. In conclusion, results showed that DHLA could attenuate Hg-induced cytotoxicity via limiting Hg accumulation, boosting up of antioxidant defense, and inhibition of apoptosis in cells.
MAFG-driven astrocytes promote CNS inflammation
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS. Astrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, but little is known about the heterogeneity of astrocytes and its regulation. Here we report the analysis of astrocytes in multiple sclerosis and its preclinical model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by single-cell RNA sequencing in combination with cell-specific Ribotag RNA profiling, assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq), chromatin immunoprecipitation with sequencing (ChIP-seq), genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and in vivo CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic perturbations. We identified astrocytes in EAE and multiple sclerosis that were characterized by decreased expression of NRF2 and increased expression of MAFG, which cooperates with MAT2α to promote DNA methylation and represses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory transcriptional programs. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) signalling in astrocytes drives the expression of MAFG and MAT2α and pro-inflammatory transcriptional modules, contributing to CNS pathology in EAE and, potentially, multiple sclerosis. Our results identify candidate therapeutic targets in multiple sclerosis.
Systems Level Understanding of Circadian Integration with Cell Physiology
The mammalian circadian clock regulates a wide variety of physiological and behavioral processes. In turn, its disruption is associated with sleep deficiency, metabolic syndrome, neurological and psychiatric disorders, and cancer. At the turn of the century, the circadian clock was determined to be regulated by a transcriptional negative feedback mechanism composed of a dozen core clock genes. More recently, large-scale genomic studies have expanded the clock into a complex network composed of thousands of gene outputs and inputs. A major task of circadian research is to utilize systems biological approaches to uncover the governing principles underlying cellular oscillatory behavior and advance understanding of biological functions at the genomic level with spatiotemporal resolution. This review focuses on the genes and pathways that provide inputs to the circadian clock. Several emerging examples include AMP-activated protein kinase AMPK, nutrient/energy sensor mTOR, NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT1, hypoxia-inducible factor HIF1α, oxidative stress-inducible factor NRF2, and the proinflammatory factor NF-κB. Among others that continue to be revealed, these input pathways reflect the extensive interplay between the clock and cell physiology through the regulation of core clock genes and proteins. While the scope of this crosstalk is well-recognized, precise molecular links are scarce, and the underlying regulatory mechanisms are not well understood. Future research must leverage genetic and genomic tools and technologies, network analysis, and computational modeling to characterize additional modifiers and input pathways. This systems-based framework promises to advance understanding of the circadian timekeeping system and may enable the enhancement of circadian functions through related input pathways.
Agomelatine protects against permanent cerebral ischaemia via the Nrf2-HO-1 pathway
Stroke is a major cause of death and permanent disability worldwide. It has been reported that 85% of stroke patients undergo an ischaemic stroke. The standard treatment is currently recanalization. However, only 5% of patients have access to this treatment. Therefore, new strategies for permanent ischaemic stroke treatment need to be investigated. Agomelatine is a melatonergic agonist that acts on MT1/2 receptors and is an antagonist of 5-HT2c receptors, and melatonergic has pleiotropic effects, such as antioxidation or anti-inflammation effects. In this study, we focused on the effect of agomelatine on permanent cerebral ischaemia in a rat model. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into the following four groups (n = 6/group): sham operating group, permanent ischaemic model group, permanent ischaemic model plus agomelatine (40 mg/kg, i.p) group and permanent ischaemic model plus melatonin (10 mg/kg, i.p) group. Twenty-four h after ischaemic onset, we investigated the neurological deficits and infarct volume using neurological deficit scores, 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) and transmission electron microscopy (Kochanski et al.). Moreover, we analysed Nrf2-HO-1 protein expression by Western blot. The results showed that agomelatine and melatonin decreased neuronal injury and promoted the Nrf2-HO-1 signalling pathway. These findings suggest that agomelatine and melatonin exert beneficial effects on permanent cerebral ischaemia.
Baicalin Reduces Early Brain Injury after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Rats
To evaluate the effect of baicalin on subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in rats and explore the potential mechanisms.
Zinc promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury by activating Nrf2/HO-1 defense pathway and inhibiting inflammation of NLRP3 in nerve cells
To study the specific therapeutic effect of zinc on spinal cord injury (SCI) and its specific protective mechanism.
The transcription factor REST up-regulates tyrosine hydroxylase and antiapoptotic genes and protects dopaminergic neurons against manganese toxicity
Dopaminergic functions are important for various biological activities, and their impairment leads to neurodegeneration, a hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Chronic manganese (Mn) exposure causes the neurological disorder manganism, presenting symptoms similar to those of PD. Emerging evidence has linked the transcription factor RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) to PD and also Alzheimer's disease. But REST's role in dopaminergic neurons is unclear. Here, we investigated whether REST protects dopaminergic neurons against Mn-induced toxicity and enhances expression of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). We report that REST binds to RE1 consensus sites in the TH gene promoter, stimulates TH transcription, and increases TH mRNA and protein levels in dopaminergic cells. REST binding to the TH promoter recruited the epigenetic modifier cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB)-binding protein (CBP)/p300 and thereby up-regulated TH expression. REST relieved Mn-induced repression of TH promoter activity, mRNA, and protein levels and also reduced Mn-induced oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis in dopaminergic neurons. REST reduced Mn-induced proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin 1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and Interferon gamma (IFN-γ). Moreover, REST inhibited the Mn-induced proapoptotic proteins Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) and death-associated protein 6 (Daxx) and attenuated an Mn-induced decrease in the antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. REST also enhanced the expression of antioxidant proteins, including catalase, NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), and heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1). Our findings indicate that REST activates TH expression and thereby protects neurons against Mn-induced toxicity and neurological disorders associated with dopaminergic neurodegeneration.
Sodium aescinate provides neuroprotection in experimental traumatic brain injury via the Nrf2-ARE pathway
Sodium aescinate (SA), a natural plant extract, has been proven to provide neuroprotection in neurological diseases. However, its role and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in traumatic brain injury (TBI) are still not well understood. The present study was aimed to investigate the protective effects of SA in both in vivo and in vitro TBI models. Mice or neurons were randomly divided into control, TBI, TBI + vehicle and TBI + SA groups. Neurologic severity score (NSS) was used to evaluate the neurological impairment. Brain water content and lesion volume were used to assess the brain injury degree. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) levels were used to estimate oxidative stress. Western blot was used to determine the protein levels. Nissl and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick 3'-end labeling (TUNEL) staining were used to measure cell death and apoptosis. Our results revealed that treatment of SA could improve neurological function, decrease cerebral edema and attenuate brain lesion after TBI. Furthermore, administration of SA suppressed TBI-induced oxidative stress, neuron cell death and apoptosis. In addition, SA activated the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-antioxidant response element (ARE) pathway after TBI. However, SA failed to provide neuroprotection following TBI in Nrf2 mice. Taken together, our results provided the first evidence that SA treatment played a key role in neuroprotection after TBI through the Nrf2-ARE pathway.
A novel biscoumarin compound ameliorates cerebral ischemia reperfusion-induced mitochondrial oxidative injury via Nrf2/Keap1/ARE signaling
Some phytochemical-derived synthetic compounds have been shown to improve neurological disorders, especially in ischemic stroke. In this study, we identified a novel biscoumarin compound, known as COM 3, which had substantial antioxidant effects in neurons. Next, we found that COM 3 occupies a critical binding site between the Nrf2 and Keap1 dipolymer, impairing the inhibitory effects of Keap1 on Nrf2, both of which play central roles in increasing endogenous antioxidant activity. We verified that COM 3 could increase the survival of neurons experiencing oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) from 51.1% to 77.2% when exposure to 2.5 and 10 μg/mL of COM 3, respectively. In addition, the same concentrations of COM 3 could reduce brain infarct volumes by 33.8%to13.7%, respectively, while also reducing the neurobehavioral score from 3.3 to 1.4 on average in mice with a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). COM 3 reduced neuronal death from 36.5% to 13.9% and apoptosis from 35.1% to 18.2%. In addition, COM 3 could improve the neuronal mitochondrial energy metabolism after experiencing oxidative stress caused by OGD or MCAO. The present study suggests that COM 3 protects against OGD in neurons and MCAO in mice by interfering with the structure of Keap1 to activate the nuclear transcription of Nrf2, which balances endogenous redox activity and restores mitochondrial function. Hence, COM 3 might be a potential therapeutic agent for ischemic stroke in the clinic.
Inflammation-induced behavioral changes is driven by alterations in Nrf2-dependent apoptosis and autophagy in mouse hippocampus: Role of fluoxetine
Inflammation has been associated with the progression of many neurological diseases. Peripheral inflammation has also been vaguely linked to depression-like symptoms in animal models, but the underlying pathways that orchestrate inflammation-induced behavioral or molecular changes in the brain are still elusive. We have recently shown that intraperitoneal injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to Swiss albino mice triggers systemic inflammation, leading to an activated immune response along with changes in monoamine levels in the brain. Herein we pinpoint the fundamental pathways linking peripheral inflammation and depression-like behavior in a mouse model, thereby identifying suitable targets of intervention to combat the situation. We show that LPS-induced peripheral inflammation provoked a depression-like behavior in mice and a distinct pro-inflammatory bias in the hippocampus, as evident from increased microglial activation and elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, and activation of NFκB-p65 pathway. Significant alterations in Nrf2-dependent cellular redox status, coupled with altered autophagy and increased apoptosis were noticed in the hippocampus of LPS-exposed mice. We and others have previously shown that, fluoxetine (an anti-depressant) has effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties by virtue of its abilities to regulate NFκB and Nrf2 signaling. We observed that treatment with fluoxetine or the Nrf2 activator tBHQ (tert-butyl hydroquinone), could reverse depression-like-symptoms and mitigate alterations in autophagy and cell death pathways in the hippocampus by activating Nrf2-dependent gene expressions. Taken together, the data suggests that systemic inflammation potentiates Nrf2-dependent changes in cell death and autophagy pathway in the hippocampus, eventually leading to major pathologic sequelae associated with depression. Therefore, targeting Nrf2 could be a novel approach in combatting depression and ameliorating its associated pathogenesis.
Mn-TAT PTD-Ngb attenuates oxidative injury by an enhanced ROS scavenging ability and the regulation of redox signaling pathway
Neurological diseases have a close relationship to excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS). Neuroglobin (Ngb), an intrinsic protective factor, protected cells from hypoxic/ischemic injury. In the present, we reported a novel neuroprotective manganese porphyrin reconstituted metal protein, Mn-TAT PTD-Ngb, consisting of a HIV Tat protein transduction domain sequence (TAT PTD) attached to the N-terminal of apo-Ngb. Mn-TAT PTD-Ngb had a stronger ROS scavenging ability than that of TAT PTD-Ngb, and reduced intracellular ROS production and restored the function of the mitochondria and inhibited the mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Besides, Mn-TAT PTD-Ngb activated the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway, which up-regulated the expression of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT). The results showed that the redox chemistry of Mn-TAT PTD-Ngb and redox regulation of multiple signaling pathways attenuated the oxidative injury.
NRF2 as a Therapeutic Target in Neurodegenerative Diseases