Hyperlipidemia affects neuronal nitric oxide synthase expression in brains of focal cerebral ischemia rat model

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hyperlipidemia, a risk factor for ischemic cerebrovascular disease, may mediate production of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) to induce increased nitric oxide levels, resulting in brain neuronal injury.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate effects of hyperlipidemia on brain nNOS expression, and to verify changes in infarct volume and pathology during reperfusion, as well as neuronal injury following ischemia/reperfusion in a rat model of focal cerebral ischemia.

DESIGN, TIME AND SETTING:

Complete, randomized grouping experiment was performed at the Laboratory of Physiology, Shanxi Medical University from March 2005 to March 2006.

MATERIALS:

A total of 144 eight-week-old, male, Wistar rats, weighing 160–180 g, were selected. A rat model of middle cerebral artery occlusion was established by suture method after 4 weeks of formulated diet. Nitric oxide kit and rabbit anti-rat nNOS kit were respectively purchased from Nanjing Jiancheng Bioengineering Institute, China and Wuhan Boster Biological Technology, Ltd., China.

METHODS:

The rats were equally and randomly divided into high-fat diet and a normal diet groups. Rats in the high-fat diet group were fed a high-fat diet, consisting of 10% egg yolk powder, 5% pork fat, and 0.5% pig bile salt combined with standard chow to create hyperlipidemia. Rats in the normal diet group were fed a standard rat chow. A total of 72 rats in both groups were randomly divided into 6 subgroups: sham-operated, 4-hour ischemia, 4-hour ischemia/2-hour reperfusion, 4-hour ischemia/4-hour reperfusion, 4-hour ischemia/6-hour reperfusion, and 4-hour ischemia/12-hour reperfusion, with 12 rats in each subgroup.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

nNOS expression was measured by immunohistochemistry, and pathomorphology changes were detected by hematoxylin-eosin staining. Infarct volume and nitric oxide levels were respectively measured using 2, 3, 5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) and immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS:

In the ischemic region, pathology changes were significant in the 4-hour ischemia/4-hour, 4-hour ischemia/6-hour reperfusion, and 4-hour ischemia/12-hour reperfusion subgroups fed on a high-fat diet compared to the same groups fed on a normal diet. In each ischemia subgroup, nNOS expression in brain tissues was higher than in the sham-operated subgroups fed on either the high-fat diet or normal diet (P < 0.01). At each ischemia/reperfusion time point, rats fed on a high-fat diet expressed higher levels of nNOS compared to rats fed on the normal diet (P < 0.05). When tissue was stained with TTC, a white infarction area was detected in the ischemic hemisphere, demonstrating that the infarct volume gradually increased with prolonged reperfusion time in each ischemia subgroup. At each ischemia/reperfusion time point, the infarct volume was larger in rats fed on a high-fat diet compared to those fed on a normal diet.

CONCLUSION:

nNOS expression was greater in hyperlipidemia rats following ischemia/reperfusion. Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury is aggravated with prolonged reperfusion time.

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