Mitochondria dysfunction, an enormous potential crisis, has attracted increasing attention. Disturbed regulation of mitochondrial dynamics, the balance of mitochondrial fusion and fission, has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson׳s disease and cerebral ischemia/reperfusion. However the role of mitochondrial dynamics in traumatic brain injury (TBI) has not been illuminated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of Mdivi-1, a small molecule inhibitor of a key mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), in TBI-induced cell death and functional outcome deficits. Protein expression of Drp1 was first investigated. Outcome parameters consist of motor test, Morris water maze, brain edema and lesion volume. Cell death was detected by propidium iodide (PI) labeling, and mitochondrial morphology was assessed using transmission electron microscopy. In addition, the expression of apoptosis-related proteins cytochrome c (cyt-c) and caspase-3 was investigated. Our findings showed that up-regulation of Drp1 expression started at 1h post-TBI and peaked at 24 h, but inhibition of Drp1 by Mdivi-1 significantly alleviated TBI-induced behavioral deficits and brain edema, reduced morphological change of mitochondria, and decreased TBI-induced cell death together with lesion volume. Moreover, treatment with Mdivi-1 remarkably inhibited TBI-induced the release of cyt-c from mitochondria to cytoplasm, and activation of caspase-3 at 24 h after TBI. Taken together, these data imply that inhibition of Drp1 may help attenuate TBI-induced functional outcome and cell death through maintaining normal mitochondrial morphology and inhibiting activation of apoptosis.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Dynamin-related protein 1; Mitochondrial fusion; Traumatic brain injury.
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