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Keywords:

  • BB-94;
  • gelatinase;
  • matrix metalloproteinase;
  • caspase-3;
  • MMP inhibition

Abstract

Transient global ischemia causes delayed white matter injury to the brain with oligodendrocyte (OLG) death and myelin breakdown. There is increasing evidence that hypoxia may be involved in several diseases of the white matter, including multiple sclerosis, vascular dementia, and ischemia. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are increased in rat and mouse models of hypoxic hypoperfusion and have been associated with OLG death. However, whether the MMPs act on myelin or OLGs remains unresolved. We hypothesized that delayed expression of MMPs caused OLG death and myelin breakdown. To test the hypothesis, adult mice underwent hypoxic hypoperfusion with transient bilateral occlusion of the carotid arteries. After 3 days of reperfusion, ischemic white matter had increased reactivity of astrocytes and microglia, MMP-2 localization in astrocytes, and increased protein expression and activity of MMP-2. In addition, there was a significant loss of myelin basic protein (MBP) by Western blot and caspase-3- mediated OLG death. Treatment with the broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor, BB-94, significantly decreased astrocyte reactivity and MMP-2 activity. More importantly, it reduced MBP breakdown. However, MMP inhibition had no effect on OLG loss. Our results implicate MMPs released by reactive astrocytes in delayed myelin degradation, while OLG death occurs by an MMP-independent mechanism. We propose that MMP-mediated myelin loss is important in hypoxic injury to the white matter. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.