Molecular neurodegeneration

Inhibition of MMP-9 by a selective gelatinase inhibitor protects neurovasculature from embolic focal cerebral ischemia.

PMID 22587708


Cerebral ischemia has been shown to induce activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), particularly MMP-9, which is associated with impairment of the neurovasculature, resulting in blood-brain barrier breakdown, hemorrhage and neurodegeneration. We previously reported that the thiirane inhibitor SB-3CT, which is selective for gelatinases (MMP-2 and -9), could antagonize neuronal apoptosis after transient focal cerebral ischemia. Here, we used a fibrin-rich clot to occlude the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and assessed the effects of SB-3CT on the neurovasculature. Results show that neurobehavioral deficits and infarct volumes induced by embolic ischemia are comparable to those induced by the filament-occluded transient MCA model. Confocal microscopy indicated embolus-blocked brain microvasculature and neuronal cell death. Post-ischemic SB-3CT treatment attenuated infarct volume, ameliorated neurobehavioral outcomes, and antagonized the increases in levels of proform and activated MMP-9. Embolic ischemia caused degradation of the neurovascular matrix component laminin and tight-junction protein ZO-1, contraction of pericytes, and loss of lectin-positive brain microvessels. Despite the presence of the embolus, SB-3CT mitigated these outcomes and reduced hemorrhagic volumes. Interestingly, SB-3CT treatment for seven days protected against neuronal laminin degradation and protected neurons from ischemic cell death. These results demonstrate considerable promise for the thiirane class of selective gelatinase inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents in stroke therapy.