Notoginsenoside R1 (NGR1) is a phytoestrogen that is isolated from Panax notoginseng. It is used in China to treat many diseases, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and it has been shown to target estrogen receptors. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays an important role in the development of cell apoptosis during ischemia, and ER stress is known to be regulated by estrogen; however, the neuroprotective mechanisms of NGR1 in neonatal HIE is unclear. In this study, oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) in primary cortical neurons and unilateral ligation of the common carotid artery (CCL), followed by exposure to a hypoxic environment in 7-day-old postnatal Sprague-Dawley rats were used to mimic HIE episodes. Potential neuroprotective effects of NGR1 against neonatal HIE and its mechanisms were examined. After HIE conditions in vitro and in vivo, we administered NGR1 or the estrogen receptor inhibitor ICI-182780 and measured cell apoptosis, brain injury by MTT assay, TTC stain, and so forth. Expression of estrogen receptors α (ERα) and β (ERβ), ER stress-associated proteins was detected by Western blot upon stimulation with HIE, NGR1, or ICI-182780. Results showed that after HIE, ER chaperone GRP78 was activated, ER stress-associated proapoptotic proteins (CHOP, PERK, ERO1-α, and IRE1α) were increased, caspase-12 was increased, and BCL-2 was decreased. The ER stress response and neuronal apoptosis were attenuated by NGR1 treatment. However, neuroprotective properties of NGR1 against HIE-induced apoptosis and ER stress were attenuated by ICI-182780. These results suggest that NGR1 may be an effective treatment of HIE by reducing ER stress–induced neuronal apoptosis and brain injury via estrogen receptors.
- Received October 30, 2015.
- Accepted February 17, 2016.
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81401234).
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics