Stroke, an age-related disorder involving degeneration of neurons resulting from cerebral ischemia, is a major cause of disability and mortality. Although dietary restriction (DR) extends lifespan and reduces levels of cellular oxidative stress in several different organ systems including the brain, the impact of DR on ischemic brain injury is unknown. We report that maintenance of adult rats on a DR regimen resulted in reduced brain damage and improved behavioral outcome in a middle cerebral artery occlusion-reperfusion (MCAO-R) stroke model. Administration of 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG), a nonmetabolizable analogue of glucose, to rats fed ad libitum resulted in reduced ischemic brain damage and improved behavioral outcome following MCAO-R. 2-DG protected cultured hippocampal neurons against chemical hypoxia, demonstrating a direct protective action on neurons. DR and 2-DG administration resulted in an increase in the level of the stress protein heat-shock protein 70 (HSP-70) in striatal cells in vivo, and 2-DG treatment induced HSP-70 in cultured neurons suggesting involvement of a preconditioning stress response in the neuroprotective actions of DR and 2-DG. The neuroprotective effect of DR and 2-DG in this focal cerebral ischemia model suggests that outcome following stroke may be improved in individuals who follow a regimen of reduced food intake.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.