S-allyl cysteine activates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response and protects neurons against ischemic injuryin vitroandin vivo

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Abstract

Stroke is a devastating clinical condition for which an effective neuroprotective treatment is currently unavailable. S-allyl cysteine (SAC), the most abundant organosulfur compound in aged garlic extract, has been reported to possess neuroprotective effects against stroke. However, the mechanisms underlying its beneficial effects remain poorly defined. The present study tests the hypothesis that SAC attenuates ischemic neuronal injury by activating the nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-dependent antioxidant response in both in vitro and in vivo models. Our findings demonstrate that SAC treatment resulted in an increase in Nrf2 protein levels and subsequent activation of antioxidant response element pathway genes in primary cultured neurons and mice. Exposure of primary neurons to SAC provided protection against oxygen and glucose deprivation-induced oxidative insults. In wild-type (Nrf2+/+) mice, systemic administration of SAC attenuated middle cerebral artery occlusion-induced ischemic damage, a protective effect not observed in Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2−/−) mice. Taken together, these findings provide the first evidence that activation of the Nrf2 antioxidant response by SAC is strongly associated with its neuroprotective effects against experimental stroke and suggest that targeting the Nrf2 pathway may provide therapeutic benefit for the treatment of stroke.

The transcription factor Nrf2 is involved in cerebral ischemic disease and may be a promising target for the treatment of stroke. We provide novel evidence that SAC confers neuroprotection against ischemic stroke by activating the antioxidant Nrf2 signaling pathway. ARE, antioxidant response element; GCLC, glutathione cysteine ligase regulatory subunit; GCLM, glutathione cysteine ligase modulatory subunit; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1; JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase; Keap1, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1; Maf, musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma; Nrf2, nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2; SAC, S-allyl cysteine; ROS, reactive oxygen species.

The transcription factor Nrf2 is involved in cerebral ischemic disease and may be a promising target for the treatment of stroke. We provide novel evidence that SAC confers neuroprotection against ischemic stroke by activating the antioxidant Nrf2 signaling pathway. ARE, antioxidant response element; GCLC, glutathione cysteine ligase regulatory subunit; GCLM, glutathione cysteine ligase modulatory subunit; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1; JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase; Keap1, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1; Maf, musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma; Nrf2, nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2; SAC, S-allyl cysteine; ROS, reactive oxygen species.

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