Brain Res.2021 Oct 9;147685.doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147685. Online ahead of print.

Miro1 provides neuroprotection via the mitochondrial trafficking pathway in a rat model of traumatic brain injury

Chen Chen  1 Lina Lu  2 Jie Zhu  3 XiaoYu Gu  1 BoFei Liu  4 Di Li  5 Gang Chen  6 Affiliations


The outer mitochondrial membrane protein mitochondrial Rho-GTPase 1 (Miro1) is known to be involved in the regulation of mitochondrial transport required for neuronal protection. Previous reports established that disruption of Miro1-dependent mitochondrial movement could result in nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This study was designed to explore the expression and mechanisms of Miro1 in secondary brain injury after traumatic brain injury (TBI). A total of 115 male Sprague Dawley rats were used in the weight-drop TBI rat model, and Miro1 in vivo knockdown was performed 24 h before TBI modeling by treatment with Miro1 short-interfering RNA. Real-time polymerase chain reaction, western blot, immunofluorescence, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level assay, neuronal apoptosis, brain water content measurement, and neurological score analyses were carried out. Our results showed that the mRNA and protein levels of Miro1 were increased after TBI and co-localized with neurons and astrocytes in the peri-injury cortex. Moreover, Miro1 knockdown further exacerbated neuronal apoptosis, brain edema, and neurological deficits at 48 h after TBI, accompanied by impaired mitochondrial transport, reduction of mitochondria number and energy deficiency. Additionally, the apoptosis-related factors Bax upregulation and Bcl-2 downregulation as Miro1 knockdown after TBI implied that antiapoptotic effects on neuroprotection of Miro1, which were verified by the Fluoro-Jade C (FJC) staining and TUNEL staining. In conclusion, these findings suggest that Miro1 probably plays a neuroprotective role against secondary brain injury through the mitochondria trafficking pathway, suggesting that enhancing Miro1 might be a new strategy for the treatment of TBI.

Keywords: Miro1; apoptosis; mitochondrial trafficking; neuroprotection; traumatic brain injury.