Ischemic conditioning, the application of a mild ischemic stimulus to an ischemia-sensitive structure like the heart or brain either before (preconditioning) or after (postconditioning) its exposure to a lethal ischemic insult, is known to switch on endogenous protective mechanisms. However, most studies of its neuroprotective effect in the central nervous system (CNS) have focused on ischemic damage or related conditions like hypoxia, while its potential in treating other neural diseases remains uncertain. In particular, the recent discovery of remote ischemic postconditioning whereby mild ischemia applied to a region remote from the target after the main ischemic insult also confers protection offers an attractive paradigm to study its potential in other types of neural injury. Retinal ganglion cells damaged by optic nerve transection undergo extensive cell death. However, application of a series of mild ischemic/reperfusion cycles to the hind limb (limb remote ischemic postconditioning) at 10 min or 6 h after optic nerve cut was found to promote ganglion cell survival at 7 days post-injury, with the 10 min postconditioning still exerting protection at 14 days post-injury. Concomitant with the increased ganglion cell survival, 51 % more ganglion cells expressed the small heat shock protein HSP27, when remote ischemic postconditioning was performed at 10 min post-injury, as compared to the sham conditioning group. Our results highlight the potential of using remote ischemic postconditioning as a noninvasive neuroprotective strategy in different CNS disorders like spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2013
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