Natrium Benzoate Alleviates Neuronal Apoptosis via the DJ-1-Related Anti-oxidative Stress Pathway Involving Akt Phosphorylation in a Rat Model of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury
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This study aimed to explore the neuroprotective effects and mechanisms of natrium benzoate (NaB) and DJ-1 in attenuating reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced neuronal apoptosis in traumatic spinal cord injury (t-SCI) in rats. T-SCI was induced by clip compression. The protein expression and neuronal apoptosis was evaluated by Western blotting, double immunofluorescence staining and transmission electron microscope (TEM). ROS level, spinal cord water content (SCWC) and Evans blue (EB) extravasation was also examined. Locomotor function was evaluated by Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) and inclined plane test (IPT) scores. We found that DJ-1 is expressed in spinal cord neurons and increased after t-SCI. At 24 h post-injury, the levels of DJ-1, p-Akt, SOD2, ROS, p-p38 MAPK/p38 MAPK ratio, and CC-3 increased, while the Bcl-2/Bax ratio decreased. NaB upregulated DJ-1, p-Akt, and SOD2, decreased ROS, p-p38 MAPK/p38 MAPK ratio, and CC-3, and increased the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, which were reversed by DJ-1 siRNA. The proportion of CC-3- and TUNEL-positive neurons also increased after t-SCI and was reduced by NaB. These effects were reversed by MK2206. Moreover, the level of oxDJ-1 increased after t-SCI, which was decreased by DJ-1 siRNA, NaB or the combination of them. NaB also reduced mitochondrial vacuolization, SCWC and EB extravasation, and improved locomotor function assessed by the BBB and IPT scores. In conclusion, NaB increased DJ-1, and thus reduced ROS and ROS-induced neuronal apoptosis by promoting Akt phosphorylation in t-SCI rats. NaB shows potential as a therapeutic agent for t-SCI, with DJ-1 as its main target.
Keywords: DJ-1; apoptosis; natrium benzoate; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; traumatic spinal cord injury.