The protective effect of dantrolene on ischemic neuronal cell death is associated with reduced expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress markers

Brain Res. 2005 Jun 28;1048(1-2):59-68. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2005.04.058.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays an important role in ischemic neuronal cell death. In order to determine the effect of dantrolene, a ryanodine receptor antagonist, on ER stress response and ischemic brain injury, we investigated changes in ER stress-related molecules, that is phosphorylated form of double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR)-like ER kinase (p-PERK), phosphorylated form of eukaryotic initiation factor 2alpha (p-eIF2alpha), activating transcription factor-4 (ATF-4), and C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP), as well as terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) in the peri-ischemic area and ischemic core region of rat brain after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). In contrast to the cases treated with vehicle, the infarct volume and TUNEL-positive cells were significantly reduced at 24 h of reperfusion by treatment with dantrolene. The immunoreactivities for p-PERK, p-eIF2alpha, ATF-4, and CHOP were increased at the ischemic peripheral region after MCAO, which were partially inhibited by dantrolene treatment. The present results suggest that dantrolene significantly decreased infarct volume and provided neuroprotective effect on rats after transient MCAO by reducing ER stress-mediated apoptotic signal pathway activation in the ischemic area.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 4
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Dantrolene / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling / methods
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / complications
  • Ischemia / etiology
  • Ischemia / pathology
  • Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / therapeutic use*
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factor CHOP
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • eIF-2 Kinase / metabolism


  • Atf4 protein, rat
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Ddit3 protein, rat
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central
  • Transcription Factors
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4
  • Transcription Factor CHOP
  • eIF-2 Kinase
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Dantrolene