Tetramethylpyrazine Protects Against Early Brain Injury and Inhibits the PERK/Akt Pathway in a Rat Model of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
Neurochem Res. 2018 Aug ;43(8):1650-1659. Epub 2018 Jun 27. PMID: 29951731
Neuronal apoptosis is a potentially fatal pathological process that occurs in early brain injury (EBI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). There is an urgent need to identify effective therapeutics to alleviate neuronal apoptosis. Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP), as an important component of the Chinese traditional medicinal herb Ligusticum wallichii, has been widely used in China to treat cerebral ischemic injury and confer neuroprotection. In the present work, we investigate whether TMP can reduce EBI following SAH in rats, specifically via inactivating the PERK/Akt signaling cascade. One hundred twenty-five male Sprague-Dawley rats were used in the present study. TMP was administered by intravenous (i.v.) injection, and the Akt inhibitor MK2206 was injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.). SAH grade, neurological scores, and brain water content were measured 24 h after SAH. Neuronal apoptosis was visualized by Fluoro-Jade C (FJC) staining. Western blotting was used to measure the levels of PERK, p-PERK, eIF2α, p-eIF2α, Akt, p-Akt, Bcl-2, Bax, and cleaved caspase-3. Our results showed that TMP effectively reduced neuronal apoptosis and improved neurobehavioral deficits 24 h after SAH. Administration of TMP reduced the abundance of p-PERK and p-eIF2α. In addition, TMP increased the p-Akt level and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio and decreased the level of cleaved caspase-3. The selective Akt inhibitor MK2206 abolished the anti-apoptotic effect of TMP at 24 h after SAH. Collectively, these results indicate that Akt-related anti-apoptosis through the PERK pathway is a major, potent mechanism of EBI. Further investigation of this pathway may provide a basis for the development of TMP as a clinical treatment.