Salvianolic acid A alleviates ischemic brain injury through the inhibition of inflammation and apoptosis and the promotion of neurogenesis in mice

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Abstract

Salvianolic acid A (SalA), a chemical type of caffeic acid trimer, has drawn great attention for its potent bioactivities against ischemia-induced injury both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we evaluated SalA's protective effects against acute ischemic stroke by inducing middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (MCAO) injuries in mice. Treatment of the mice with SalA (50 and 100 μg/kg, i.v.) at 2 h after MCAO enhanced their survival rate, improved their moving activity, and ameliorated the severity of brain infarction and apoptosis seen in the mice by diminishing pathological changes such as the extensive breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), nitrosative stress, and the activation of an inflammatory transcriptional factor p65 nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and a pro-apoptotic kinase p25/Cdk5. SalA also intensively limited cortical infarction and promoted the expression of neurogenesis protein near the peri-infarct cortex and subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus by compromising the activation of GSK3β and p25/Cdk5, which in turn upregulated β-catenin, doublecortin (DCX), and Bcl-2, most possibly through the activation of PI3K/Akt signaling via the upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. We conclude that SalA blocks inflammatory responses by impairing NF-κB signaling, thereby limiting inflammation/nitrosative stress and preserving the integrity of the BBB; SalA also concomitantly promotes neurogenesis-related protein expression by compromising GSK3β/Cdk5 activity to enhance the expression levels of β-catenin/DCX and Bcl-2 for neuroprotection.

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