Isosteviol sodium injection improves outcomes by modulating TLRs/NF-κB-dependent inflammatory responses following experimental traumatic brain injury in rats

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Previous studies have shown that isosteviol sodium (STVNa) protects against permanent cerebral ischemia injury by inhibition of the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB)-mediated inflammatory responses. Overwhelming evidence shows that toll-like receptors (TLRs) are the upstream regulators of NF-κB. On the basis of the similarity of the pathology caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, we speculated that STVNa may have a therapeutic effect against TBI through regulation of the TLRs/NF-κB signaling-mediated inflammatory response. Thus, we studied the potential therapeutic effects of STVNa and the underlying mechanisms. Male rats, subjected to controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury, were injected intraperitoneally with STVNa (5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg/kg, daily for 3 or 7 days) after trauma. Neurobehavioral scores, relative numbers of cortical lesions, and histology were examined. We also measured the mRNA and protein expression levels of TLRs/NF-κB signaling pathway-related genes including TLR2, TLR4, and NF-κB by quantitative real-time-PCR and western blotting, respectively, and concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results indicated that STVNa (20 mg/kg) showed significant neuroprotective effects 3 and 7 days after TBI, including the reduction of cortical lesions, improvement of the neurological severity score, significantly increased number of restored neurons, decreased number of astrocytes, and lower concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β. Results from quantitative real-time-PCR and western blotting also show that the mRNA and protein expression levels of TLR2, TLR4, and NF-κB were significantly lower in STVNa-treated rats compared with the vehicle-treated rats. The administration of STVNa attenuates the TLR/NF-κB signaling pathway-mediated inflammatory responses in the injured rat brain, and this may be the mechanism by which STVNa improves the outcome following TBI.

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