Intraarterial anti-leptin therapy via ICA protects ipsilateral CA1 neurons subjected to ischemia and reperfusion

Amit Benbenishty, Jacob Schneiderman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Brain reperfusion following an ischemic event is essential for tissue viability, however, it also involves processes that promote neuronal cell death. We have recently shown that local expression of the hormone leptin in cardiovascular organs drives deleterious remodeling. As cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (IR) lesions derive expression of both the leptin hormone and its receptor, we hypothesized that blocking leptin activity in the injured brain area will reduce the deleterious effects of IR injury. Methods C57BL6 male mice underwent bilateral common carotid artery and external carotid artery ligation. The right hemisphere was reperfused after 12 minutes, followed by intraarterial injection of either a low-dose leptin antagonist or saline solution via the ipsilateral ICA. The left common carotid artery remained ligated. Fifteen IR/leptin antagonist-injected and fourteen IR/saline-injected mice completed the experiment. Five days after surgery brains were collected and samples of the hippocampal CA1 region were analyzed for cell viability (H&E) and apoptosis (TUNEL and caspase3), for neuroinflammation (Iba1), and for signaling pathways of pSTAT3 and pSmad2. Results The right hemisphere hippocampal CA1 region subjected to IR and saline injection exhibited increased apoptosis and necrosis of pyramidal cells. Also, increased density of activated microglia/macrophages was evident around the CA1 region. Comparatively, leptin antagonist treatment at reperfusion reduced apoptosis and necrosis of pyramidal cells, as indicated by increased number of viable cells (p < 0.01), and reduced TUNEL (p < 0.001) and caspase3-positive cells (p<0.05). Furthermore, this treatment reduced the density of activated microglia/macrophages (p < 0.001) in the CA1 region. Signaling pathway analysis revealed that while pSTAT3 and pSmad2-positive cells were found surrounding the stratum pyramidal in saline-treated animals, pSTAT3 signal was undetected and pSmad2 was greatly reduced in this territory following leptin antagonist treatment (p < 0.01). Conclusions Inhibition of leptin activity in hemispheric IR injury preserved the viability of ipsilateral hippocampal CA1 neurons, likely by preventing apoptosis and local inflammation. These results indicate that intraarterial anti-leptin therapy may have clinical potential in reducing hemispheric brain IR injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261644
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1 January
StatePublished - Jan 2022


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