Postischemic Brain Injury Is Attenuated in Mice Lacking the β2-Adrenergic Receptor

Abstract BACKGROUND: Several β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) antagonists have been shown to have neuroprotective effects against cerebral ischemia. However, clenbuterol, a β2AR agonist, was shown to have neuroprotective activity by increasing nerve growth factor expression. We used β2AR knockout mice and a β2selective antagonist to test the effect of loss of β2ARs on outcome from transient focal cerebral ischemia. METHODS: Ischemia was induced by the intraluminal suture method, for 60 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) followed by 24 h reperfusion. Neurological score was determined at 24 h reperfusion and infarct size was determined by cresyl violet or 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. β2AR knockout mice and wild-type congenic FVB/N controls were studied, as well as 2 groups of wild type mice given either ICI 118,551 (0.2 mg/kg) or 0.9% saline intraperitoneally 30 min before MCAO (n = 10 per group). Changes in expression of heat shock protein (Hsp)72 after ischemia were examined by immunohistochemistry and western blots. RESULTS: Compared with wild type littermates, infarct volume was decreased by 22.3% in β2AR knockout mice (39.7 ± 10.7 mm3 vs 51.0 ± 11.4 mm3, n = 10/group, P = 0.034) after 60 min of MCAO followed by 24 h reperfusion. Pretreatment with a β2AR selective antagonist, ICI 118,551, also decreased infarct size significantly, by 25.1%, compared with the saline control (32.8 ± 11.9 mm3vs 43.8 ± 10.3 mm3, n = 10/group, P = 0.041). Neurological scores were also significantly improved in mice lacking the β2AR or pretreated with ICI 118,551. After cerebral ischemia, total levels of Hsp72 and the number of Hsp72 immunopositive cells were greater in mice lacking β2 AR. CONCLUSION: Brain injury is reduced and neurological outcome improved after MCAO in mice lacking the β2AR, or in wild type mice pretreated with a selective β2AR antagonist. This is consistent with a shift away from prosurvival signaling to prodeath signaling in the presence of β2AR activation in cerebral ischemia. Protection is associated with higher levels of Hsp72, a known antideath protein. The effect of β2AR signaling in the setting of cerebral ischemia is complex and warrants further study. IMPLICATIONS: Brain injury is reduced and neurological outcome improved after middle cerebral artery occlusion in mice lacking the β2AR or in wild type mice pretreated with a selective β2AR antagonist. This is consistent with a shift away from prosurvival signaling to prodeath signaling in the presence of β2AR activation in cerebral ischemia.

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