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  • The potential LXRβ agonist stigmasterol protects against hypoxia/reoxygenation injury by modulating mitophagy in primary hippocampal neurons.

The potential LXRβ agonist stigmasterol protects against hypoxia/reoxygenation injury by modulating mitophagy in primary hippocampal neurons.

Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology (2020-12-08)
Md Nazmul Haque, Md Abdul Hannan, Raju Dash, Sung Min Choi, Il Soo Moon

Neuronal excitotoxicity induces a plethora of downstream signaling pathways, resulting in the calcium overload-induced excitotoxic cell death, a well-known phenomenon in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. The naturally occurring phytosterol, stigmasterol (ST) is known for its potential role in cholesterol homeostasis and neuronal development. However, the ability of ST to protect against the induced excitotoxicity in hippocampal neurons has not been investigated yet. The present study aimed to investigate whether ST could protect against hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R)-induced excitotoxicity in hippocampal neurons. After H/R, neurons were initially subjected to trypan blue exclusion assay for the assessment of cell viability. Live staining using fluorescence dyes namely JC-1 (5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide), DCFDA (2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate) and FM1-43 (N-(3-triethylammoniumpropyl)-4-(4-(dibutylamino)styryl) were used to measure MMP, ROS and synaptic vesicle pool size. Immunostaining was performed to analyze the expression levels of vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1), N-methyl-D-acetate receptor subunit 2B (GluN2B), LC3BII, p62, and PTEN induced protein kinase 1 (PINK1) in neuron after H/R. Western blotting was carried out to measure the protein expression of GluN2B. The molecular dynamics simulation was employed to elucidate the LXRβ agonistic conformation of ST. Pre-incubation of neuronal cultures with ST (20 μM) protected against excitotoxicity, and attenuated reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, double-stranded DNA break, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) loss. ST treatment also resulted in the downregulation of the expressions of VGLUT1 and GluN2B and the reduction of the size of recyclable synaptic vesicle (SV) pool. Like LXRβ agonist GW3695, ST suppressed the expression of GluN2B. Furthermore, ST induced mitophagy through upregulating the expressions of LC3BII, p62, and PINK1. The molecular simulation study showed that ST interacted with the ligand binding domain of liver X receptor β (LXRβ), a known binding receptor of ST, through multiple hydrogen bonding. Collectively, these findings revealed that ST exhibited a promising neuroprotective effect by regulating both pre- and post-synaptic events following H/R, particularly, attenuation of GluN2B-mediated excitotoxicity and oxidative stress, and induction of mitophagy, and suggested that ST might be a therapeutic promise against ischemic stroke and its associated neurological disorders.

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2′,7′-Dichlorofluorescein diacetate, BioReagent, suitable for fluorescence, ≥95% (HPLC)
GW3965 hydrochloride, ≥98% (HPLC), powder
SynaptoGreen C4, ≥95% (HPLC), solid
Suplatast tosylate, ≥98% (HPLC)