Astragaloside IV protects blood-brain barrier integrity from LPS-induced disruptionviaactivating Nrf2 antioxidant signaling pathway in mice

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Endothelial cells of cerebral microvessels are one of the components of blood-brain-barrier (BBB), which are connected by tight junctions (TJs). BBB disruption in cerebral diseases such as ischemic stroke, Alzhemer's disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury is implicated to exacerbate the disease progression. Astragaloside IV (ASIV) isolated from Astragalus membranaceus prevents BBB breakdown in rodents induced with cerebral edema and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. However, its underlying molecular mechanism has not been elucidated yet. In present study, ASIV was found to prevent the leakage of BBB in LPS-induced mice, which was accompanied with increased zo-1 and occludin but reduced VCAM-1 in brain microvessels. Similarly, in brain endothelial cell line bEnd.3 cells, ASIV mitigated the increased permeability induced by LPS, as evidenced by increased TEER and reduced sodium fluorescein extravasation. ASIV also enhanced the expression of TJ proteins such as zo-1, occludin and claudin-5 in LPS stimulated bEnd.3 cells. Meanwhile, it inhibited the inflammatory responses and prevented the monocyte adhesion onto bEnd.3 cells upon LPS stimulation. Further study disclosed that ASIV could alleviate ROS level and activate Nrf2 antioxidant pathway in bEnd.3 cells. When Nrf2 was silenced, the protective effect of ASIV was abolished. In brain microvessels of LPS-induced mice, ASIV also enhanced the expression of Nrf2 antioxidant pathway related proteins. Collectively, our results demonstrated that ASIV protected the integrity of BBB in LPS-induced mice, the mechanism of which might be mediated via activating Nrf2 signaling pathway. The findings suggested that ASIV might be a potential neuroprotective drug acting on BBB.HighlightsASIV prevents BBB breakdown in LPS-induced mice.ASIV enhances zo-1, occludin but reduced VCAM-1 in brain microvessels.ASIV activates Nrf2 signaling pathway in brain microvessels of LPS-induced mice.ASIV alleviates TJ breakdown depending on Nrf2 in bEnd.3 cells induced by LPS.ASIV reduces inflammatory responses in bEnd.3 cells depending on Nrf2 pathway.

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