Neuroprotection of tanshinone IIA against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury through inhibition of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in rats

Yanlin Chen, Xuemei Wu, Shanshan Yu, Xuemei Lin, Jingxian Wu, Lan Li, Jing Zhao, Yong Zhao
PloS One 2012, 7 (6): e40165

BACKGROUND: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is associated with systemic inflammatory response. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has been implicated in many inflammatory processes. Tanshinone IIA (TSA) is one of the active ingredients in danshen, which derived from the dried root or rhizome of Salviae miltiorrhizae Bge. Recent studies have demonstrated that TSA has protective effects against focal cerebral I/R injury. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Here we put forward the hypothesis that TSA acts through inhibition of MIF expression during focal cerebral I/R injury in rats.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2 hours. This was followed by reperfusion. We measured neurological deficits, brain water content, and infarct volume, and found that neurological dysfunction, brain edema, and brain infarction were significantly attenuated by TSA 6 hours after reperfusion. We also measured myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity at 6 and 24 hours, and found that neutrophil infiltration was significantly higher in the vehicle+I/R group than in the TSA+I/R group. ELISA demonstrated that TSA could inhibit MIF expression and the release of TNF-α and IL-6 induced by I/R injury. Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence staining showed that MIF expression was significantly lower in the TSA+I/R group than in the vehicle+I/R group. MIF was found almost all located in neurons and hardly any located in astrocytes in the cerebral cortex. Western blot analysis and EMSA demonstrated that NF-κB expression and activity were significantly increased in the vehicle+I/R group. However, these changes were attenuated by TSA.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that TSA helps alleviate the proinflammatory responses associated with I/R-induced injury and that this neuroprotective effect may occur through down-regulation of MIF expression in neurons.

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