Impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and neuroinflammation are involved in the pathogenesis of radiation-induced brain injury. Kukoamine A (KuA) was demonstrated to have neuroprotective effects through inhibiting oxidative stress and apoptosis after whole-brain irradiation (WBI) in rats. The aim of this study was to investigate whether administration of KuA would prevent radiation-induced neuroinflammation and the detrimental effect on hippocampal neurogenesis. For this study, male Wistar rats received either sham irradiation or WBI (30 Gy single dose of X-rays) followed by the immediate injection of either KuA or vehicle intravenously. The dose of KuA was 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg, respectively. The levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were assayed by ELISA kits. The newborn neurons were detected by 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU)/neuronal nuclei (NeuN) double immunofluorescence. Microglial activation was measured by Iba-1 immunofluorescence. The expression of Cox-2 and the activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), activating protein 1(AP-1), and PPARδ were evaluated by western blot. WBI led to a significant increase in the level of TNF-α, IL-1β, and Cox-2, and it was alleviated by KuA administration. KuA attenuated microglial activation in rat hippocampus after WBI. Neurogenesis impairment induced by WBI was ameliorated by KuA. Additionally, KuA alleviated the increased translocation of NF-κB p65 subunit and phosphorylation of c-jun induced by WBI and elevated the expression of PPARδ. These data indicate that KuA could ameliorate the neuroinflammatory response and protect neurogenesis after WBI, partially through regulating the activation of NF-κB, AP-1, and PPARδ.
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