Background: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC), a procedure consisting of transient ischemia and subsequent reperfusion, provides ischemic tolerance against prolonged ischemia in the brain. Although the blood flow changes mediated by IPC are primarily perceived by vascular endothelial cells, the role of these cells in ischemic tolerance has not fully clarified. In this research, we focused on the role of P2X4 receptor, which sense blood flow changes and is expressed on vascular endothelial cells.
Methods: We administrated P2X4 receptor inhibitor into lateral ventricle of C57BL/6J male mice (8-10 weeks) and then conducted middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Fifteen minutes MCAO was done as IPC 48 hours before 60 minutes MCAO. To examine the necessity of P2X4 receptor expression in vascular endothelial cells, we generated a conditional knockout (CKO) mouse in which the P2X4 receptor was knocked down in VE-cadherin-positive vascular endothelial cells. To investigate molecular change by IPC, we obtained cerebrovascular endothelial cells of mice 48 hours after IPC, and real time PCR and ELISA were evaluated. To examine the molecular expression change on vascular endothelial cells by blood flow, we used in vitro culture system which generates fluid flow and real time PCR was evaluated. Inhibition of P2X4 receptor expression was conducted by P2X4 receptor siRNA transfection.
Results: P2X4 receptor antagonist abolished neuroprotection via IPC. Moreover, the effect of IPC to P2X4 receptor CKO mice was smaller than control mice, the infarct volume of P2X4 receptor CKO was larger than control mice after 60 minutes MCAO (p<0.05, Control, n=4; CKO, n=6). IPC induced expression of osteopontin mRNA (p<0.05, n=5). Osteopontin administration attenuates the increase of infarct formation induced by P2X4 receptor inhibition (p<0.05, Control, n=5; Osteopontin, n=6). In vitro, shear stress upregulated expression of osteopontin mRNA (p<0.05, n=3). This upregulation was inhibited by P2X4 receptor siRNA (p<0.05, Control siRNA, n=6; P2X4 receptor siRNA, n=7).
Conclusion: These results demonstrate a novel mechanism whereby vascular endothelial cells are involved in ischemic tolerance by way of the pathway about P2X4 receptor and osteopontin.