Distribution of glutamate and preproenkephalin messenger RNAs following transient focal cerebral ischemia

L. K. Friedman, L. Belayev, O. F. Alfonso, M. D. Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Middle cerebral artery occlusion may result in increased activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate- or α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA)-type receptors by glutamate and lead to neuronal cell death. To characterize molecular events that precede cell death following transient focal ischemia, in situ hybridization histochemistry was used to measure levels of glutamate receptor subunit 1 (GluR1), GluR2, GluR3, N-methyl-D- aspartate receptor subunit 1 (NR1) and preproenkephalin messenger RNAs in adult rats at various recirculation times (1.5, 3 and 24 h) following a 90- min period of middle cerebral artery occlusion. At 1.5 and 3 h recirculation, autoradiography showed pronounced but differential decreases in AMPA, NR1 and preproenkephalin messenger RNA expression throughout the infarcted ipsilateral striatum. Non-uniform patterns of in situ hybridization grains emerged such that many striatal neurons were depleted of AMPA and preproenkephalin messenger RNAs, while others retained control levels. In cortical regions destined to undergo infarction, GluR2 and NR1 messenger RNAs were preferentially reduced relative to the contralateral side (to 75±8.5% and 66±4.5%, respectively); GluR1, GluR3 and preproenkephalin messenger RNAs were unaltered. At 24 h recirculation, depletion of striatal and cortical messenger RNAs became less selective. GluR3 and preproenkephalin messenger RNAs were up-regulated in ipsilateral spared regions of the striatum, and GluR1 and GluR2 messenger RNAs increased bilaterally in the cingulate cortex and in selective nuclei of the amygdala. Histological cell death or neurodegeneration was not detected in areas of reduced glutamate and preproenkephalin messenger RNA expression in either the ipsilateral striatum or cortex before 24 h. These findings suggest that complex and long-lasting decreases in messenger RNA expression occur prior to significant cell loss in regions destined to undergo infarction. Increased formation of Ca2+- permeable AMPA receptor assemblies may occur in 'unspared' and 'spared' regions via different mechanisms and contribute to alterations in post- ischemic synaptic activity. The possibility arises that there may be altered relationships between glutamatergic and enkephalin synapses, since the dorsolateral striatum, where preproenkephalin messenger RNA expression is acutely reduced, receives innervation by the affected ipsilateral cortical region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-857
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Caudate- putamen
  • Focal ischemia
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Neocortex
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Opioids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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