Editor's Note
This study investigated the underlying mechanisms of the combination of Panax ginseng and Angelica sinensis (CPA) in the treatment of stroke, and whether CPA has neuroprotective effects via suppressing Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and microglial pyroptosis against ischemic injury in transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) rats. The authors conclude that CPA treatment attenuates cerebral injury via inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasomes activation and microglial pyroptosis after stroke, which at least partially involved in the amelioration of Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission.
Abstract

Background

The combination of Panax ginseng and Angelica sinensis (CPA) has been used to treat stroke for one thousand years and demonstrated clinically to have satisfied effects. However, the underlying mechanism remains unknown.

Purpose

We investigate whether CPA has neuroprotective effects via suppressing Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and microglial pyroptosis against ischemic injury in transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) rats.

Methods

Male rats were divided randomly into sham operated, MCAO, MCC950 (NLRP3-specific inhibitor) and CPA groups. Neurological deficits, glucose uptake, infarct size, activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes, microglial pyroptosis and related signaling pathways were detected. BV-2 microglial cells subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) were used in in vitro experiments.

Results

Compared with sham rats, elevated level of proinflammatory interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in plasma, neurological function deficit, reduced glucose uptake in ipsilateral hemisphere, obvious infarct size, the activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes and enhanced microglial pyroptosis were presented in MCAO rats. The administrations of MCC950 and CPA respectively reversed the results. In vitro OGD/R induced the release of lactate dehydrogenase, promoted NLRP3 inflammasomes activation and pyroptosis in BV-2 cells, which was significantly suppressed by treatment with ginsenoside Rd (Rd) and Z-ligustilide (LIG). Mechanistically, OGD/R induced high expression of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and mitochondrial fission, as well as NLRP3 inflammasomes activation and pyroptosis in BV-2 cells, which was attenuated by treatment with Rd and LIG. Moreover, the increased expression of Drp1 was validated in MCAO rats, and also abolished by MCC950 or CPA treatments.

Conclusion

CPA treatment attenuates cerebral injury via inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasomes activation and microglial pyroptosis after stroke, which at least partially involved in the amelioration of Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission.
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