Ischemic Preconditioning Protects Astrocytes against Oxygen Glucose Deprivation Via the Nuclear Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 Pathway

Transl Stroke Res. 2018 Apr;9(2):99-109. doi: 10.1007/s12975-017-0574-y. Epub 2017 Nov 4.


Induction of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) represents a potential therapy against cerebral ischemia by activation of adaptive pathways and modulation of mitochondria to induce ischemic tolerance to various cells and tissues. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been ascribed to contribute to numerous neurodegenerative conditions and cerebral ischemia. Nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor that has traditionally been involved in upregulating cellular antioxidant systems to combat oxidative stress in the brain; however, the association of Nrf2 with mitochondria in the brain remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effects of Nrf2 on (i) IPC-induced protection of astrocytes; (ii) OXPHOS protein expression; and (iii) mitochondrial supercomplex formation.Oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) was used as an in vitro model of cerebral ischemia and IPC in cultured rodent astrocytes derived from WT C57Bl/6J and Nrf2-/- mice. OXPHOS proteins were probed via western blotting, and supercomplexes were determined by blue native gel electrophoresis.IPC-induced cytoprotection in wild-type, but not Nrf2-/- mouse astrocyte cultures following a lethal duration of OGD. In addition, our results suggest that Nrf2 localizes to the outer membrane in non-synaptic brain mitochondria, and that a lack of Nrf2 in vivo produces altered supercomplex formation in mitochondria.Our findings support a role of Nrf2 in mediating IPC-induced protection in astrocytes, which can profoundly impact the ischemic tolerance of neurons. In addition, we provide novel evidence for the association of Nrf2 to brain mitochondria and supercomplex formation. These studies offer new targets and pathways of Nrf2, which may be heavily implicated following cerebral ischemia.

Keywords: Mitochondria; Nrf2; Preconditioning; Reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / drug effects*
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins / metabolism
  • Glucose / deficiency*
  • Hypoxia / prevention & control*
  • Ischemic Preconditioning / methods*
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Oxygen
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen