Hypoxic-ischemic (H-I) injury to neonatal brains can cause a life-long neuronal deficit because of increased susceptibility in the neonatal period. Excitotoxicity due to overstimulation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is assumed to be the basis of the injury. However, the ontogenic profile of the susceptibility does not directly correlate with the levels of NMDAR expression. Platelet-derived growth factor B-chain (PDGF-B) has been reported to protect neurons by suppressing the NMDA-evoked current and translocating the glutamate transporter to the cell membrane. Thus, we assessed the relationship between the susceptibility to H-I injury and the expression of PDGF-B in neonatal rat brain. PDGF-B infusion before and after an intrastriatal NMDA injection significantly reduced the size of the lesions in 7-day-old rats, when they are most susceptible and the neuronal expression of PDGF-B is low. Fourteen-day-old neonatal rats were found to be resistant to NMDA injury, even though NMDARs are expressed at high levels in the brain at this age. Inhibition of PDGF-B protein synthesis by antisense oligodeoxynucleotides increased the size of the NMDA-induced lesions up to 6-fold at postnatal day 14, when PDGF-B is expressed at high levels in neurons. These data suggest that PDGF-B is an important physiological modulator of NMDAR excitability in the developing brain, and that the balance between the expression of NMDAR and PDGF-B partly determines the ontogenic susceptibility to brain injury. Enhancement of the PDGF-B/receptor signal pathway might rescue neonatal brains at risk of H-I injury.
- Antisense oligonucleotides
- Platelet-derived growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience