Melatonin protects MCAO-induced neuronal loss via NR2A mediated prosurvival pathways

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Frontiers in Pharmacology


© 2019 Shah, Liu, Al Kury, Zeb, Abbas, Li, Yang, Liu, Jiang and Li. Stroke is the significant cause of human mortality and sufferings depending upon race and demographic location. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that exerts protective effects in differential experimental stroke models. Several mechanisms have been previously suggested for the neuroprotective effects of melatonin in ischemic brain injury. The aim of this study is to investigate whether melatonin treatment affects the glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor signaling in cerebral cortex and striatum 24 h after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Melatonin (5 mg/kg) attenuated ischemia-induced down regulation of NMDA receptor 2 (NR2a), postsynaptic density-95 (PSD95) and increases NR2a/PSD95 complex association, which further activates the pro-survival PI3K/Akt/GSK3β pathway with mitigated collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) phosphorylation. Furthermore, melatonin increases the expression of γ-enolase, a neurotrophic factor in ischemic cortex and striatum, and preserve the expression of presynaptic (synaptophysin and SNAP25) and postsynaptic (p-GluR1845) protein. Our study demonstrated a novel neuroprotective mechanism for melatonin in ischemic brain injury which could be a promising neuroprotective agent for the treatment of ischemic stroke.

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