Smoking-derived nicotine (N) and oral contraceptives (OC) synergistically exacerbate ischemic brain damage in the females and underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Our published study showed that N toxicity is exacerbated by OC via altered mitochondrial function owing to a defect in the activity of cytochrome c oxidase. Here, we investigated the global metabolomic profile of brains of adolescent female Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to N ± OC. Rats were randomly exposed to saline or N + /−OC for 16–21 days followed by random allocation into two cohorts. One cohort underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion and histopathology was performed 30 days later. From the second cohort, cortical tissues were collected for an unbiased global metabolomic profile. Pathway enrichment analysis showed significant decrease in glucose, glucose 6-phosphate and fructose-6-phosphate, along with a significant increase in pyruvate in the N + /−OC exposed groups when compared to saline (p < 0.05), suggesting alterations in the glycolytic pathway which were confirmed by Western blot analyses of glycolytic enzymes. Infarct volume quantification showed a significant increase following N alone or N + OC as compared to saline control. Because glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology, altered glycolysis deteriorates neural function, thus exacerbating ischemic brain damage.
- TCA cycle
- middle cerebral artery occlusion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine