Abstract

Brain ischemia represents a leading cause of death and disability in industrialized countries. To date, therapeutic intervention is largely unsatisfactory and novel strategies are required for getting better protection of neurons injured by cerebral blood flow restriction. Recent evidence suggests that brain insulin leads to protection of neuronal population undergoing apoptotic cell death via modulation of oxidative stress and mitochondrial cytochrome c (CytC), an effect to be better clarified. In this work, we investigate on the effect of insulin given intracerebroventricular (ICV) before inducing a transient global ischemia by bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries (BCCO) in Mongolian gerbils (MG). The transient (3 min) global ischemia in MG is observed to produce neurodegenerative effect mainly into CA3 hippocampal region, 72 h after cerebral blood restriction. Intracerebroventricular microinfusion of insulin significantly prevents the apoptosis of CA3 hippocampal neurons. Histological observation, after hematoxylin and eosin staining, puts in evidence the neuroprotective role of insulin, but Raman microimaging provides a clearer insight in the CytC mechanism underlying the apoptotic process. Above all, CytC has been revealed to be an outstanding, innate Raman marker for monitoring the cells status, thanks to its resonant scattering at 530 nm of incident wavelength and to its crucial role in the early stages of cells apoptosis. These data support the hypothesis of an insulin-dependent neuroprotection and antiapoptotic mechanism occurring in the brain of MG undergoing transient brain ischemia. The observed effects occurred without any peripheral change on serum glucose levels, suggesting an alternative mechanism of insulin-induced neuroprotection.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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