Suppression of cortical TRPM7 protein attenuates oxidative damage after traumatic brain injury via Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase pathway

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Neuronal death after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex process resulting from a combination of factors, many of which are still unknown. Transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (TRPM7) is a transient receptor potential channel that has been demonstrated to mediate ischemic and traumatic neuronal injury in vitro. In the present study, TRPM7 was suppressed in the rat cerebral cortex by intracortical injections of viral vectors bearing shRNA specific for TRPM7 to investigate its potential role in an in vivo TBI model. We found that TRPM7 suppression significantly reduced brain edema, brain contusion volume and motor functional deficits, which was sustained for at least 2 weeks after the insult. These protective effects were accompanied by inhibited apoptosis in injured cortex. Also, TRPM7 suppression attenuated lipid peroxidation, decreased the expression of protein carbonyl, and preserved the endogenous antioxidant enzyme activities. The results of western blot analysis showed that TRPM7 suppression markedly increased the phosphorylation of Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). In addition, blocking Akt/eNOS pathway activation by the specific inhibitor LY294002 (LY, 10 μL, 10 mmol/L) or L-NIO (0.5 mg/kg) partially reversed the protective effects of TRPM7 suppression and its anti-oxidative activities. Taken together, these findings demonstrated that regional inhibition of TRPM7 in cerebral cortex exerts neuroprotective effects against TBI through activation of Akt/eNOS pathway. Thus, TRPM7 might represent a potential drug development target for the treatment of TBI.

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