PloS one

Protein-energy malnutrition developing after global brain ischemia induces an atypical acute-phase response and hinders expression of GAP-43.

PMID 25259609


Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a common post-stroke problem. PEM can independently induce a systemic acute-phase response, and pre-existing malnutrition can exacerbate neuroinflammation induced by brain ischemia. In contrast, the effects of PEM developing in the post-ischemic period have not been studied. Since excessive inflammation can impede brain remodeling, we investigated the effects of post-ischemic malnutrition on neuroinflammation, the acute-phase reaction, and neuroplasticity-related proteins. Male, Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to global forebrain ischemia using the 2-vessel occlusion model or sham surgery. The sham rats were assigned to control diet (18% protein) on day 3 after surgery, whereas the rats exposed to global ischemia were assigned to either control diet or a low protein (PEM, 2% protein) diet. Post-ischemic PEM decreased growth associated protein-43, synaptophysin and synaptosomal-associated protein-25 immunofluorescence within the hippocampal CA3 mossy fiber terminals on day 21, whereas the glial response in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 subregions was unaltered by PEM. No systemic acute-phase reaction attributable to global ischemia was detected in control diet-fed rats, as reflected by serum concentrations of alpha-2-macroglobulin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, haptoglobin, and albumin. Acute exposure to the PEM regimen after global brain ischemia caused an atypical acute-phase response. PEM decreased the serum concentrations of albumin and haptoglobin on day 5, with the decreases sustained to day 21. Serum alpha-2-macroglobulin concentrations were significantly higher in malnourished rats on day 21. This provides the first direct evidence that PEM developing after brain ischemia exerts wide-ranging effects on mechanisms important to stroke recovery.