Acidic FGF promotes neurite outgrowth of cortical neurons and improves neuroprotective effect in a cerebral ischemic rat model

M J Tsai, S K Tsai, M C Huang, D Y Liou, S L Huang, W H Hsieh, W C Huang, S S Huang, H Cheng
Neuroscience 2015 October 1, 305: 238-47
Acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) is a neurotrophic factor which is a powerful neuroprotective and neuroregenerative factor of the nervous system. Prior study had shown that levels of FGFs significantly increase following ischemic injury, reflecting a physiological protection mechanism. However, few reports demonstrated the efficacy of applying aFGF in cerebral ischemia. A recent report showed that the intranasal aFGF treatment improved neurological functional recovery; however, it did not significantly reduce the lesion size in ischemic rats. The present study examines the neuroprotective effect of aFGF on cortical neuron-glial cultures under oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD)-induced cell damage and investigates whether epidural application of slow-released aFGF could improve benefit on ischemic stroke injury in conscious rats. We used a topical application of aFGF mixed in fibrin glue, a slow-release carrier, over the peri-ischemic cortex and examined such treatment on cerebral infarction and behavioral impairments of rats subjected to focal cerebral ischemia (FCI). Results demonstrate that aFGF effectively protected cortical neuron-glial cultures from OGD-induced neuronal damage. Neurite extension from cortical neurons was significantly enhanced by aFGF, mediated through activation of AKT and ERK. In addition, topical application of fibrin glue-mixed aFGF dose-dependently reduced ischemia-induced brain infarction and improved functional restoration in ischemic stroke rats. Slow-released aFGF not only protected hippocampal and cortical cell loss but reduced microglial infiltration in FCI rats. Our results suggest that aFGF mixed in fibrin glue could prolong the protective/regenerative efficacy of aFGF to the damaged brain tissue and thus improve the functional restorative effect of aFGF.

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