Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ), a stress-induced transcription factor, protects neurons against ischemic stroke insult by reducing oxidative stress. NADPH oxidase (NOX) activation, a major driving force in ROS generation in the setting of reoxygenation/reperfusion, constitutes an important pathogenetic mechanism of ischemic brain damage. In the present study, both transient in vitro oxygen-glucose deprivation and in vivo middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion-reperfusion experimental paradigms of ischemic neuronal death were used to investigate the interaction between PPAR-γ and NOX. With pharmacological (PPAR-γ antagonist GW9662), loss-of-function (PPAR-γ siRNA), and gain-of-function (Ad-PPAR-γ) approaches, we first demonstrated that 15-deoxy-∆(12,14)-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2), via selectively attenuating p22phox expression, inhibited NOX activation and the subsequent ROS generation and neuronal death in a PPAR-γ-dependent manner. Secondly, results of promoter analyses and subcellular localization studies further revealed that PPAR-γ, via inhibiting hypoxia-induced NF-κB nuclear translocation, indirectly suppressed NF-κB-driven p22phox transcription. Noteworthily, postischemic p22phox siRNA treatment not only reduced infarct volumes but also improved functional outcome. In summary, we report a novel transrepression mechanism involving PPAR-γ downregulation of p22phox expression to suppress the subsequent NOX activation, ischemic neuronal death, and brain infarct. Identification of a PPAR-γ → NF-κB → p22phox neuroprotective signaling cascade opens a new avenue for protecting the brain against ischemic insult.
Keywords: Gene regulation; NADPH oxidase; NF-κB; Nox2.