Protective effects of propofol against whole cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats through the inhibition of the apoptosis-inducing factor pathway.

Research paper by Tao T Tao, Chun-Lei CL Li, Wan-Chao WC Yang, Xian-Zhang XZ Zeng, Chun-Yu CY Song, Zi-Yong ZY Yue, Hong H Dong, Hua H Qian

Indexed on: 11 May '16Published on: 11 May '16Published in: Brain Research


Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury could cause neural apoptosis that involved the signaling cascades. Cytochrome c release from the mitochondria and the followed activation of caspase 9 and caspase 3 are the important steps. Now, a new mitochondrial protein, apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), has been shown to have relationship with the caspase-independent apoptotic pathway. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of propofol through inhibiting AIF-mediated apoptosis induced by whole cerebral I/R injury in rats. 120 Wistar rats that obtained the permission of the animal care committee of Harbin Medical University were randomly divided into three groups: sham group (S group), cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury group (I/R group), and propofol treatment group (P group). Propofol (1.0mg/kg/min) was administered intravenously for 1h before the induction of ischemia in P group. The apoptotic rate in three groups was detected by flow cytometry after 24h of reperfusion. The mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) changes were detected via microplate reader. The expressions of B-cell leukemia-2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2 associated X protein (Bax) and AIF were evaluated using Western blot after 6h, 24h and 48h of reperfusion. The results of our study showed that apoptotic level was lower in P group compared with I/R group and propofol could protect MMP. The ratio of Bcl-2/Bax was significantly higher in P group compared with I/R group. The translocation of AIF from mitochondrial to nucleus was lower in P group than that in I/R group. Our findings suggested that the protective effects of propofol on cerebral I/R injury might be associated with inhibiting translocation of AIF from mitochondrial to the nucleus in hippocampal neurons.