Tetrahydrocurcumin epigenetically mitigates mitochondrial dysfunction in brain vasculature during ischemic stroke

Neurochem Int. 2019 Jan;122:120-138. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2018.11.015. Epub 2018 Nov 22.


The objectives of this study are to identify the mechanism of mitochondrial dysfunction during cerebral ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury and the therapeutic potential of tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction in experimental stroke model. In our study, 8-10 weeks old male C57BL/6 wild-type mice were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 40 min, followed by reperfusion for 72 h. THC (25mg/kg-BW/day) was injected intraperitoneally once daily for 3 days after 4 h of ischemia. The experimental groups were: (i) sham, (ii) I/R and (iii) I/R + THC. We noticed that THC treatment in ischemic mice significantly improved the functional capacity and motor co-ordination along with reduced neuroscore, infarct volume, brain edema and microvascular leakage in brain parenchyma. The study revealed that level of total homocysteine (tHcy), homocysteine metabolizing enzymes, mitochondrial oxidative stress were significantly altered in I/R mice compared to sham. We also observed alteration in mitochondrial transition pore, ATP production and O2 consumption in the ischemic brain as compared to sham. Further, elevated matrix metalloproteinases-9 (MMP-9) activity and reduced tight junction protein expressions intensified the brain vascular impairment in I/R mice compared to sham. Interestingly, we found that levels of mitophagy markers, fusion and fission proteins were significantly altered. However THC treatment in I/R mice almost normalized the above functional and molecular changes. Mechanistic study demonstrated that DNA Methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) expression was higher and was associated with reduced mitochondrial tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2 (TIMP-2) expression through hyper-methylation of CpG island of TIMP-2 promoter in I/R mice compared to sham. However, administration of epigenetic inhibitor, 5-Azacytidine (5-Aza) abrogated I/R induced hyper-methylation of TIMP-2 promoter and maintaining the extracellular matrix (ECM) integrity. In conclusion, this study suggests that THC epigenetically ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction in brain vasculature during Ischemic Stroke.

Keywords: Blood brain barrier; Epigenetic DNA methylation; Extracellular matrix remodeling; Hyperhomocysteinemia; Oxidative stress; Tight junction protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / metabolism
  • Curcumin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / drug therapy
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Stroke / metabolism


  • tetrahydrocurcumin
  • Curcumin