Metformin attenuates blood-brain barrier disruption in mice following middle cerebral artery occlusion

Yanqun Liu, Guanghui Tang, Yaning Li, Yang Wang, Xiaoyan Chen, Xiang Gu, Zhijun Zhang, Yongting Wang, Guo-Yuan Yang
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2014 October 15, 11: 177

BACKGROUND: Metformin, a widely used hypoglycemic drug, reduces stroke incidence and alleviates chronic inflammation in clinical trials. However, the effect of metformin in ischemic stroke is unclear. Here, we investigated the effect of metformin on ischemic stroke in mice and further explored the possible underlying mechanisms.

METHODS: Ninety-eight adult male CD-1 mice underwent 90-minute transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Metformin (200 mg/kg) was administrated for up to 14 days. Neurobehavioral outcomes, brain infarct volume, inflammatory factors, blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and AMPK signaling pathways were evaluated following tMCAO. Oxygen glucose deprivation was performed on bEND.3 cells to explore the mechanisms of metformin in inhibiting inflammatory signaling pathways.

RESULTS: Infarct volume was reduced in metformin-treated mice compared to the control group following tMCAO (P < 0.05). Neurobehavioral outcomes were greatly improved in metformin-treated mice (P < 0.05). MPO+ cells, Gr1+ cells, MPO activity and BBB permeability were decreased after metformin administration (P < 0.05). In addition, metformin activated AMPK phosphorylation, inhibited NF-κB activation, down-regulated cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) and ICAM-1 expression following tMCAO (P < 0.05). Furthermore, metformin activated AMPK signaling pathway and alleviated oxygen-glucose deprivation-induced ICAM-1 expression in bEND.3 cells (P < 0.05). Compound C, a selective AMPK inhibitor, eliminated this promotional effect.

CONCLUSIONS: Metformin down-regulated ICAM-1 in an AMPK-dependent manner, which could effectively prevent ischemia-induced brain injury by alleviating neutrophil infiltration, suggesting that metformin is a promising therapeutic agent in stroke therapy.

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