Matrix metalloproteinases inhibition provides neuroprotection against hypoxia-ischemia in the developing brain

Wanqiu Chen, Richard Hartman, Robert Ayer, Suzanne Marcantonio, Joel Kamper, Jiping Tang, John H Zhang
Journal of Neurochemistry 2009, 111 (3): 726-36
The present study was designed to investigate the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the immature brain and the long term effects of early MMPs inhibition after hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury. HI was induced by unilateral ligation of the right carotid artery followed by hypoxia (8% O(2) for 2 h) in P7 rat pups. GM6001, a broad spectrum MMPs inhibitor, was injected (50 mg/kg or 100 mg/kg) intraperitoneally at 2 h and 24 h after HI injury. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity, brain edema, MMP-2/-9 activity, TIMP-1/-2 and tight junction protein (TJP) level were evaluated using IgG staining, Evan's blue extravasation, brain water content, zymography and western blot. Doxycycline, another MMPs inhibitor, was injected (10 mg/kg or 30 mg/kg) intraperitoneally at 2 h after HI, then BBB integrity and brain edema were measured at 48 h post-HI using brain water content measurement and IgG staining. The long-term effects of early MMPs inhibition (GM6001, 100 mg/kg) were evaluated by neurobehavioral tests, body weight, and brain atrophy measurement. GM6001 attenuated brain edema and BBB disruption at the dosage of 100 mg/kg. MMP-2 activity increased at 24 h and peaked at 48 h after HI, whereas MMP-9 activity peaked at 24 h and tapered by 48 h after HI. MMP-9/-2 activities were significantly attenuated by GM6001 at 24 h and 48 h after HI. The degradation of TJPs (ZO-1 and occludin) at 48 h after HI was reversed by GM6001 treatment. Early MMPs inhibition had long-term effects that attenuated ipsilateral brain tissue loss, and improved neurobehavioral outcomes after HI. These results suggest that early MMPs inhibition with a broad-spectrum inhibitor provides both acute and long-term neuroprotection in the developing brain by reducing TJPs degradation, preserving BBB integrity, and ameliorating brain edema after neonatal HI injury.

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