Overweight worsens apoptosis, neuroinflammation and blood-brain barrier damage after hypoxic ischemia in neonatal brain through JNK hyperactivation

Yi Fang Tu, Yau Sheng Tsai, Lan Wan Wang, Hsin Chieh Wu, Chao Ching Huang, Chien Jung Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Apoptosis, neuroinflammation and blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage affect the susceptibility of the developing brain to hypoxic-ischemic (HI) insults. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is an important mediator of insulin resistance in obesity. We hypothesized that neonatal overweight aggravates HI brain damage through JNK hyperactivation-mediated upregulation of neuronal apoptosis, neuroinflammation and BBB leakage in rat pups.Methods: Overweight (OF) pups were established by reducing the litter size to 6, and control (NF) pups by keeping the litter size at 12 from postnatal (P) day 1 before HI on P7. Immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting were used to determine the TUNEL-(+) cells and BBB damage, cleaved caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and phospho-JNK and phospho-BimEL levels. Immunofluorescence was performed to determine the cellular distribution of phospho-JNK.Results: Compared with NF pups, OF pups had a significantly heavier body-weight and greater fat deposition on P7. Compared with the NF-HI group, the OF-HI group showed significant increases of TUNEL-(+) cells, cleaved levels of caspase-3 and PARP, and ED1-(+) activated microglia and BBB damage in the cortex 24 hours post-HI. Immunofluorescence of the OF-HI pups showed that activated-caspase 3 expression was found mainly in NeuN-(+) neurons and RECA1-(+) vascular endothelial cells 24 hours post-HI. The OF-HI group also had prolonged escape latency in the Morris water maze test and greater brain-volume loss compared with the NF-HI group when assessed at adulthood. Phospho-JNK and phospho-BimEL levels were higher in OF-HI pups than in NF-HI pups immediately post-HI. JNK activation in OF-HI pups was mainly expressed in neurons, microglia and vascular endothelial cells. Inhibiting JNK activity by AS601245 caused more attenuation of cleaved caspase-3 and PARP, a greater reduction of microglial activation and BBB damage post-HI, and significantly reduced brain damage in OF-HI than in NF-HI pups.Conclusions: Neonatal overweight increased HI-induced neuronal apoptosis, microglial activation and BBB damage, and aggravated HI brain damage in rat pups through JNK hyperactivation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Publication statusPublished - Apr 25 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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