Cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (CI/R) injury is a more serious brain injury caused by the recovery of blood supply after cerebral ischemia for a certain period of time. Rutaecarpine (Rut) is an alkaloid isolated from Evodia officinalis with various biological activities. Previous studies have shown that Rut has a certain protective effect on ischemic brain injury, but the specific molecular mechanism is still unknown.
In this study, a rat model of CI/R was established to explore the effects and potential molecular mechanisms of Rut on CI/R injury in rats.
The results showed that Rut alleviated neuronal injury induced by CI/R in a dose-dependent manner. Besides, Rut inhibited neuronal apoptosis by inhibiting the activation of caspase 3 and the expression of Bax. In addition, Rut alleviated the inflammatory response and oxidative stress caused by CI/R through inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory factors (IL-6 and IL-1β), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), malondialdehyde (MDA) and ROS, and increased the levels of anti-inflammatory factors (IL-4 and IL-10) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Biochemically, Western blot analyses showed that Rut inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and promoted the expression of nuclear factor-erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway-related proteins (Nrf2, heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and NAD (P) H-quinone oxidoreductase 1) in a dose-dependent manner. These results show that Rut may alleviate brain injury induced by CI/R by regulating the expression of ERK1/2 and the activation of Nrf2/HO-1 pathway.