Transient receptor potential melastatin 2 channels (TRPM2) mediate neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in mice

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Transient receptor potential melastatin 2 (TRPM2), a calcium-permeable non-selective cation channel, is reported to mediate brain damage following ischemic insults in adult mice. However, the role of TRPM2 channels in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury remains unknown. We hypothesize that TRPM2+/− and TRPM2−/− neonatal mice have reduced hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. To study the effect of TRPM2 on neonatal brain damage, we used 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining to assess the infarct volume and whole brain imaging to assess morphological changes in the brain. In addition, we also evaluated neurobehavioral outcomes for sensorimotor function 7 days following hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. We report that the infarct volumes were significantly smaller and behavioral outcomes were improved in both TRPM2+/− and TRPM2−/− mice compared to that of wildtype mice. Next, we found that TRPM2-null mice showed reduced dephosphorylation of GSK-3β following hypoxic ischemic injury unlike sham mice. TRPM2+/− and TRPM2−/− mice also had reduced activation of astrocytes and microglia in ipsilateral hemispheres, compared to wildtype mice. These findings suggest that TRPM2 channels play an essential role in mediating hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in neonatal mice. Genetically eliminating TRPM2 channels can provide neuroprotection against hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and this effect is elicited in part through regulation of GSK-3β.

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