Sphingosine Kinase 2 Mediates Cerebral Preconditioning and Protects the Mouse Brain Against Ischemic Injury
Background and Purpose—Cerebral preconditioning provides insights into endogenous mechanisms that protect the brain from ischemic injury. Hypoxia and the anesthetic isoflurane are powerful preconditioning agents. Recent data show that sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor stimulation improves outcome in rodent models of stroke. Endogenous sphingosine 1-phosphate levels are controlled by the expression and activity of sphingosine kinases (SPK). We hypothesize that SPK upregulation mediates preconditioning induced by isoflurane and hypoxia and reduces ischemic injury.
Methods—Male wild-type C57BL/J, SPK1−/− and SPK2−/− mice were exposed to isoflurane or hypoxia preconditioning before transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Infarct volume and neurological outcome were measured 24 hours later. SPK inhibitors (SKI-II and ABC294640) were used to test the involvement of SPK2. Expressions of SPK1, SPK2, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1α were determined. Primary cultures of mouse cortical neurons were exposed to isoflurane before glutamate- or hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death.
Results—Isoflurane preconditioning and hypoxia preconditioning significantly reduced infarct volume and improved neurological outcome in wild-type and SPK1−/− mice but not in SPK2−/− mice. Pretreatment with SKI-II or ABC294640 abolished the isoflurane preconditioning-induced tolerance. Western blot showed a rapid and sustained increase in SPK2 level, whereas SPK1 level was similar between preconditioned mice and controls. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α was upregulated in wild-type isoflurane-preconditioned mice but not in SPK2−/−. Isoflurane preconditioning protected primary neurons against cell death, which was abolished in ABC294640-treated cells.
Conclusions—Applying genetic and pharmacological approaches, we demonstrate that neuronal SPK2 isoform plays an important role in cerebral preconditioning.
- Received May 20, 2011.
- Revision received August 16, 2011.
- Accepted August 31, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.