Hypothermia rescues hippocampal CA1 neurons and attenuates down-regulation of the AMPA receptor GluR2 subunit after forebrain ischemia.
Colbourne F., Grooms SY., Zukin RS., Buchan AM., Bennett MV.
Brief forebrain ischemia in rodents induces selective and delayed neuronal death, particularly of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Neuronal death is preceded by down-regulation specific to CA1 of GluR2, the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunit that limits Ca(2+) influx. This alteration is hypothesized to cause neurodegeneration by permitting a lethal influx of Ca(2+) and/or Zn(2+) through newly formed GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors. Two days of mild hypothermia induced 1 h after ischemia potently and lastingly protects against ischemic injury. We examined molecular mechanisms underlying hypothermia-induced neuroprotection. We report that hypothermia rescues most hippocampal CA1 neurons from ischemia-induced cell death and attenuates ischemia-induced down-regulation of mRNA encoding the AMPA receptor subunit GluR2. Ischemia induced a marked down-regulation of GluR2 mRNA and a small down-regulation of GluR1 mRNA in CA1 at 2 days, as assessed by quantitative in situ hybridization. The ischemia-induced changes in gene expression were cell-specific in that GluR2 was not significantly altered in CA3 or dentate gyrus. After ischemia treated by hypothermia GluR2 mRNA expression was modestly reduced at 2 days and exhibited complete recovery to control levels at 7 days. Hypothermia prevented ischemia induced changes in GluR1 mRNA expression. These findings suggest that intervention at the level of transcriptional regulation of the GluR2 gene may be a mechanism by which prolonged postischemic cooling rescues CA1 neurons otherwise "destined to die."