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The transcription factor NF-kappaB is a key regulator of inflammation and cell survival. NF-kappaB is activated by cerebral ischemia in neurons and glia, but its function is controversial. To inhibit NF-kappaB selectively in neurons and glial cells, we have generated transgenic mice that express the IkappaBalpha superrepressor (IkappaBalpha mutated at serine-32 and serine-36, IkappaBalpha-SR) under transcriptional control of the neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, respectively. In primary cortical neurons of NSE-IkappaBalpha-SR mice, NF-kappaB activity was partially inhibited. To assess NF-kappaB activity in vivo after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), we measured the expression of NF-kappaB target genes by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The induction of c-myc and transforming growth factor-beta2 by cerebral ischemia was inhibited by neuronal expression of IkappaBalpha-SR, whereas induction of GFAP by MCAO was reduced by astrocytic expression of IkappaBalpha-SR. Neuronal, but not astrocytic, expression of the NF-kappaB inhibitor reduced both infarct size and cell death 48 hours after permanent MCAO. In summary, the data show that NF-kappaB is activated in neurons and astrocytes during cerebral ischemia and that NF-kappaB activation in neurons contributes to the ischemic damage.


Wen Zhang, Ioana Potrovita, Victoria Tarabin, Oliver Herrmann, Verena Beer, Falk Weih, Armin Schneider, Markus Schwaninger. Neuronal activation of NF-kappaB contributes to cell death in cerebral ischemia. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 2005 Jan;25(1):30-40

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PMID: 15678110

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