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Activation of HIF-1α and its downstream targets in rat hippocampus after long-term simulated microgravity exposure

Wang, Tingmei, Chen, Hailong, Lv, Ke, Ji, Guohua, Liang, Fengji, Zhang, Yongliang, Wang, Yanli, Liu, Xinmin, Cao, Hongqing, Kan, Guanghan, Xiong, Jianghui, Li, Yinghui, Qu, Lina
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2016
antioxidant activity, blood flow, cytoskeleton, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, glutathione peroxidase, hippocampus, homeostasis, hypoxia, hypoxia-inducible factor 1, immunity, lactate dehydrogenase, metabolism, microgravity, oxidative stress, oxygen, pyruvate dehydrogenase (acetyl-transferring) kinase, rats, sequence analysis, space flight, sulfur dioxide, superoxide dismutase, transcription (genetics), vascular endothelial growth factors
Microgravity has many detrimental impact on brain functions, however the underlying mechanism remain unclear. In present study, 28 days of tail-suspension (30°) was used to simulate microgravity in rats. We showed that oxidative stress in hippocampus was increased after 28 days of simulated microgravity in consideration of the decreased expression of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and the declined activities of total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), CuZn-SOD, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX) and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC). Using RNA-seq, we further investigated the effect of simulated microgravity on the expression of genes in hippocampus, and 849 genes were found to be differentially expressed. According to pathway analysis, the differentially expressed genes involved in cytoskeleton, metabolism, immunity, transcription regulation, etc. It is interesting to note that the differentially expressed genes were involved in hypoxia-associated pathway. In agreement with this, the expression of hypoxia induced factor-1α (HIF-1α), the master regulator of oxygen homeostasis, was significantly increased. Meanwhile, HIF-2α, a HIF-1α paralog, was elevated compared with the control group. The expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1), lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), three well-defined downstream targets of HIF-1α, were up-regulated in hippocampus after 28 days of simulated microgravity exposure. Additionally, brain oxygen saturation (SO2) and blood flow analyzed by the tissue oxygen analysis system were also significantly reduced. These findings indicate that simulated microgravity might cause an alteration in oxygen homeostasis, providing novel insight into better understanding of how simulated microgravity affects the function of hippocampus and a new direction to the development of countermeasure for brain dysfunction during spaceflight (actual microgravity).