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PPARγ Upregulation Induced by Vagus Nerve Stimulation Exerts Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Rats

Ying Jiang, Longling Li, Bin Liu, Yanhong Zhang, Qian Chen, Changqing Li

Department of Neurology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:268-275

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.891407

Available online:

Published: 2015-01-21


Background: It is well known that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a ligand-activated transcription factor, plays a protective role in anti-inflammatory responses in both acute and chronic central nerve system (CNS) insults. Emerging evidence in rats suggests that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), while restraining inflammatory cytokine production in the peripheral nervous system, also exerts a significant CNS neuroprotective function against ischemic stroke injury. The aim of this study was to explore the role of PPARγ in VNS-mediated anti-inflammatory protection against ischemic stroke damage.
Material and Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (total n=160) preconditioned through transfection with either PPARγ small interfering RNA (siRNA) or lentiviral vector without siRNA and surgically subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion subsequently received VNS treatment at 30 min post-occlusion. The expression of PPARγ after VNS treatment was measured by real-time PCR and Western blotting, also supported by immunofluorescence staining. Subsequently, the neurological deficits scores, the infarct volume, and the brain histopathology were all evaluated. Additionally, the influence on the pro-inflammatory cytokines expression and neuro-immune cells activation was determined by ELISA and immunofluorescence staining.
Results: We found that VNS upregulated expression of PPARγ in ischemia penumbra, diminished the extent of ischemic infarct, alleviated neuronal injury, and suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and immune cell activation (P<0.05). However, rats with PPARγ silencing failed to manifest significant neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory effect induced by VNS treatment (p>0.05).
Conclusions: PPARγ may participate in the process by which VNS modulates the neuro-inflammatory response following ischemia/reperfusion in rats.

Keywords: Central Nervous System - pathology, Brain Ischemia - pathology, Animals, Cytokines - metabolism, Gene Silencing, Inflammation - pathology, Microscopy, Fluorescence, PPAR gamma - metabolism, RNA, Small Interfering - metabolism, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Reperfusion Injury - pathology, Up-Regulation, Vagus Nerve - metabolism, vagus nerve stimulation



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