Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is upregulated in the brain after sublethal ischemia, and overexpression of UCP2 is neuroprotective in several models of neurodegenerative disease. We investigated if increased levels of UCP2 diminished neuronal damage after global brain ischemia by subjecting mice overexpressing UCP2 (UCP2/3tg) and wild-type littermates (wt) to a 12-min global ischemia. The histopathological outcome in the cortex, hippocampus, striatum, and thalamus was evaluated at 4 days of recovery, allowing maturation of the selective neuronal death. Global ischemia led to extensive cell death in the striatum, thalamus, and in the CA1 and CA2, and less-pronounced cell death in the CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) hippocampal subfields. Histologic damage was significantly lower in the ventral posterolateral VPL and medial VPM thalamic nuclei in UCP2/3tg animals compared with wt. These thalamic regions showed a larger increase in UCP2 expression in UCP2/3tg compared with wt animals relative to the nonprotected DG. In the other regions studied, the histologic damage was lower or equal in UCP2/3tg animals compared with wt. Consequently, neuroprotection in the thalamus correlated with a high expression of UCP2, which is neuroprotective in a number of models of neurodegenerative diseases.
- Cerebral ischemia
- Uncoupling protein 2
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism