Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein induction in rat brain following focal ischemia

Taro Nimura, Philip R. Weinstein, Stephen M. Massa, Scott Panter, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The induction of the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein, also called HSP32, was compared to HSP70 heat shock protein induction following focal ischemia. Adult Sprague-Dawley male rats (n = 14) were subjected to either 30 min or 2 h of focal cerebral ischemia using the suture, middle-cerebral-artery (MCA) occlusion model. Controls (n = 4) had sham surgery. Following 24 h of reperfusion, subjects were killed and their brains stained immunocytochemically for HO-1 and the HSP70 heat shock proteins. One day following 30 min of ischemia, HO-1 and HSP70 staining in striatum occurred mainly in endothelial cells in infarcts and in glial cells surrounding the areas of infarction. Following the 30 min ischemia HO-1 was not induced in cortex whereas HSP70 was induced in cortical neurons in the MCA distribution. One day following 2 h of MCA ischemia, both HO-1 and HSP70 were induced in neurons in cortex in the MCA distribution. HO-1, however, was induced in glial cells throughout ipsilateral cortex, inside as well as outside the MCA distribution. This suggests that translation and/or transcription of the HO-1 and HSP70 genes are blocked in neurons and glia destined to die within infarcts, whereas translation of these stress genes continues in the endothelial cells. The duration of ischemia required to induce HSP70 in cortical neurons appears to be less than that required to induce HO-1 in cortical glia. Prolonged spreading depression and/or diffuse hemispheric ischemia may induce HO-1 in glia throughout the ipsilateral cortex via immediate early gene activation of the AP-1 site in the HO-1 promoter. Since HO-1 degrades heme, a pro-oxidant, to antioxidant molecules, the induction of HO-1 may augment oxidative defense mechanisms compromised by cerebral ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Glia
  • Heat shock protein
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Penumbra
  • Spreading depression
  • Stroke
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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