Inhibition of Drp1 provides neuroprotection in vitro and in vivo

J. Grohm, S. W. Kim, U. Mamrak, S. Tobaben, A. Cassidy-Stone, J. Nunnari, N. Plesnila, C. Culmsee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Impaired regulation of mitochondrial dynamics, which shifts the balance towards fission, is associated with neuronal death in age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. A role for mitochondrial dynamics in acute brain injury, however, has not been elucidated to date. Here, we investigated the role of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), one of the key regulators of mitochondrial fission, in neuronal cell death induced by glutamate toxicity or oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) in vitro, and after ischemic brain damage in vivo. Drp1 siRNA and small molecule inhibitors of Drp1 prevented mitochondrial fission, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and cell death induced by glutamate or tBid overexpression in immortalized hippocampal HT-22 neuronal cells. Further, Drp1 inhibitors protected primary neurons against glutamate excitotoxicity and OGD, and reduced the infarct volume in a mouse model of transient focal ischemia. Our data indicate that Drp1 translocation and associated mitochondrial fission are key features preceding the loss of MMP and neuronal cell death. Thus, inhibition of Drp1 is proposed as an efficient strategy of neuroprotection against glutamate toxicity and OGD in vitro and ischemic brain damage in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1446-1458
Number of pages13
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • cerebral ischemia
  • Drp1
  • mitochondrial fusion and fission
  • neuronal cell death
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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