Pretreatment with Korean red ginseng or dimethyl fumarate attenuates reactive gliosis and confers sustained neuroprotection against cerebral hypoxic-ischemic damage by an Nrf2-dependent mechanism.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2019 Feb 1 ;131:98-114. Epub 2018 Nov 17. PMID: 30458277
The transcriptional factor Nrf2, a master regulator of oxidative stress and inflammation that are tightly linked to the development and progression of cerebral ischemia pathology, plays a vital role in inducing the endogenous neuroprotective process. Here, hypoxic-ischemia (HI) was performed in adult Nrf2 knockout and wildtype mice that were orally pretreated either with standardized Korean red ginseng extract (Ginseng) or dimethyl fumarate (DMF), two candidate Nrf2 inducers, to determine whether the putative protection was through an Nrf2-dependent mechanism involving the attenuation of reactive gliosis. Results show that Nrf2 target cytoprotective genes were distinctly elevated following HI. Pretreatment with Ginseng or DMF elicited robust neuroprotection against the deterioration of acute cerebral ischemia damage in an Nrf2-dependent manner as revealed by the reductions of neurological deficits score, infarct volume and brain edema, as well as enhanced expression levels of Nrf2 target antioxidant proteins and anti-inflammation mediators. In both ischemic striatum and cortex, the dynamic pattern of attenuated reactive gliosis in astrocytes and microglia, including affected astrocytic dysfunction in glutamate metabolism and water homeostasis, correlated well with the Nrf2-dependent neuroprotection by Ginseng or DMF. Furthermore, such neuroprotective benefits extended to the late phase of ischemic brain damage after HI, as evidenced by improvements in neurobehavioral outcomes, infarct volume and brain edema. Overall, pretreatment with Ginseng or DMF identically attenuates reactive gliosis and confers long-lasting neuroprotective efficacy against ischemic brain damage through an Nrf2-dependent mechanism. This study also provides new insight into the profitable contribution of reactive gliosis in the Nrf2-dependent neuroprotection in acute brain injury.