Pinin protects astrocytes from cell death after acute ischemic stroke via maintenance of mitochondrial anti-apoptotic and bioenergetics functions

Sujira Mukda, Ching Yi Tsai, Steve Leu, Jenq Lin Yang, Samuel H.H. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Stroke is the second most common cause of deaths worldwide. After an ischemic stroke, the proliferated reactive astrocytes in the peri-infarct areas play a beneficial role in neuronal survival. As such, astrocytes have gradually become a target for neuroprotection in stroke. The present study assessed the hypothesis that Pinin (Pnn), originally identified as a nuclear and desmosome-associated protein and is now known to possess anti-apoptotic capacity, protects astrocytes from cell death after ischemic stroke and delineated the underlying mechanisms. Methods: In in vivo experiments, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (12-week old) were used to induce acute focal cerebral ischemia employing the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) method. In in vitro experiments, postnatal day 1 (P1) Sprague-Dawley rat pups were used to prepare cultures of primary astrocytes. Oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and re-oxygenation (OGD/R) procedures were employed to mimic the hypoxic-ischemic condition of stroke in those astrocytes. Results: We found in the peri-infarct area of the ipsilateral cortex and striatum in Sprague-Dawley rats after transient MCAO an increase in Pnn expression that correlated positively with the time-course of infarction as detected by T2-weighted imaging and triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining, augmented number of reactive astrocytes that double-labelled with Pnn as determined by immunofluorescence, and enhanced cytotoxic edema as revealed by diffusion weighted imaging; but mirrored the decreased cleaved caspase-3 as measured by western blot. In an OGD and OGD/R model using primary cultured astrocytes, treatment with Pnn siRNA doubled the chance of surviving astrocytes to manifest cell death as revealed by flow cytometry, and blunted activated ERK signaling, reduced Bcl-2 expression and augmented cleaved caspase 3 detected by western blot in the normoxia, OGD or OGD/R group. Gene-knockdown of Pnn also impeded the reversal from decline in cell viability, elevation in lactate dehydrogenase leakage and decrease in ATP production in the OGD/R group. Conclusion: We conclude that the endogenous Pnn participates in neuroprotection after acute ischemic stroke by preserving the viability of astrocytes that survived the ischemic challenge via maintenance of mitochondrial anti-apoptotic and bioenergetics functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 05 06 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Cytotoxic edema
  • Middle cerebral artery occlusion
  • Oxygen-glucose deprivation
  • Peri-infarct area
  • Primary cultured astrocytes


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