This study evaluates the pathological role of the stress sensor activating transcription factor-3 (ATF3) in ischemic neurotoxicity. Upregulation of the transcript and protein for ATF3 was seen 2–10 hr after reperfusion in the ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere of mice with transient middle cerebral artery occlusion for 2 hr. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the expression of ATF3 by cells immunoreactive for a neuronal marker in neocortex, hippocampus, and striatum within 2 hr after reperfusion. In murine neocortical neurons previously cultured under ischemic conditions for 2 hr, transient upregulation of both Atf3 and ATF3 expression was similarly found during subsequent culture for 2–24 hr under normoxia. Lentiviral overexpression of ATF3 ameliorated the neurotoxicity of glutamate (Glu) in cultured murine neurons along with a slight but statistically significant inhibition of both Fluo-3 and rhodamine-2 fluorescence increases by N-methyl-D-aspartate. Similarly, transient upregulation was seen in Atf3 and ATF3 expression during the culture for 48 hr in neuronal Neuro2A cells previously cultured under ischemic conditions for 2 hr. Luciferase reporter analysis with ATF3 promoter together with immunoblotting revealed the possible involvement of several transcription factors responsive to extracellular and intracellular stressors in the transactivation of the Atf3 gene in Neuro2A cells. ATF3 could be upregulated to play a role in mechanisms underlying mitigation of the neurotoxicity mediated by the endogenous neurotoxin Glu at an early stage after ischemic signal inputs. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
ATF3 would be upregulated to play a protective role against the neurotoxicity mediated by the endogenous neurotoxin Glu at an early stage after ischemic signal inputs.