Astrocyte Overexpression of Heme Oxygenase-1 Improves Outcome After Intracerebral Hemorrhage
Background and Purpose—Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) catalyzes the rate-limiting reaction of heme breakdown and may have both antioxidant and pro-oxidant effects. In previous studies, HO-1 overexpression protected astrocytes from heme-mediated injury in vitro. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that selective astrocyte overexpression of HO-1 improves outcome after intracerebral hemorrhage.
Methods—Male and female transgenic mice overexpressing human HO-1 driven by the GFAP promoter (GFAP.HMOX1) and wild-type controls received striatal injections of autologous blood (25 μL). Blood–brain barrier disruption was assessed by Evans blue assay and striatal cell viability by methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay. Neurological deficits were quantified by digital analysis of spontaneous cage activity, adhesive removal, and elevated body swing tests.
Results—Mortality rate for wild-type mice was 34.8% and was similar for males and females; all GFAP.HMOX1 mice survived. Striatal Evans blue leakage at 24 hours was 23.4±3.2 ng in surviving wild-type mice, compared with 10.9±1.8 ng in transgenics. Perihematomal cell viability was reduced to 61±4% of contralateral at 3 days in wild-type mice, versus 80±4% in transgenics. Focal neurological deficits were significantly reduced and spontaneous cage activity was increased in GFAP.HMOX1 mice.
Conclusions—Selective HO-1 overexpression in astrocytes reduces mortality, blood–brain barrier disruption, perihematomal cell injury, and neurological deficits in an autologous blood injection intracerebral hemorrhage model. Genetic or pharmacological therapies that acutely increase astrocyte HO-1 may be beneficial after intracerebral hemorrhage.
- Received January 7, 2015.
- Revision received January 7, 2015.
- Accepted January 22, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.