The Akt/GSK-3β pathway mediates flurbiprofen-induced neuroprotection against focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats

Baozhu Sun, Lin Chen, Xinbing Wei, Yanxiao Xiang, Xiaoqian Liu, Xiumei Zhang
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2011 June 17, 409 (4): 808-13
Apoptosis is one of the major mechanisms of cell death during cerebral ischemia and reperfusion injury. Flurbiprofen has been shown to reduce cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in both focal and global cerebral ischemia models, but the mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the potential association between the neuroprotective effect of flurbiprofen and the apoptosis inhibiting signaling pathways, in particularly the Akt/GSK-3β pathway. A focal cerebral ischemia rat model was subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 120 min and then treated with flurbiprofen at the onset of reperfusion. The infarct volume and the neurological deficit scores were evaluated at 24h after reperfusion. Cell apoptosis, apoptosis-related proteins and the levels of p-Akt and p-GSK-3β in ischemic penumbra were measured using TUNEL and western blot. The results showed that administration of flurbiprofen at the doses of 5 and 10mg/kg significantly attenuated brain ischemia/reperfusion injury, as shown by a reduction in the infarct volume, neurological deficit scores and cell apoptosis. Moreover, flurbiprofen not only inhibited the expression of Bax protein and p-GSK-3β, but also increased the expression of Bcl-2 protein, the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax as well as the P-Akt level. Taken together, these results suggest that flurbiprofen protects the brain from ischemia/reperfusion injury by reducing apoptosis and this neuroprotective effect may be partly due to the activation of Akt/GSK-3β signaling pathway.

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