We have reported previously the delayed and differential induction of p38α and p38β mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in microglia and astrocytes, respectively, in brain after transient global ischemia. We report here the sustained induction and activation of p38α MAPK in activating microglia in rat brain after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The intraventricular administration of SB203580, a p38 MAPK inhibitor, 30 min before MCAO reduced the infarct volume to 50% of the control, which was accompanied by the significant improvement of neurological deficits. More interestingly, the infarct volume was reduced to 72% and 77% when SB203580 was administered 6 hr and 12 hr after MCAO, respectively. The induction of various factors involved in inflammatory processes, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), was suppressed by the administration of SB203580 at 6 hr after MCAO. These results suggest that sustained activation of p38 MAPK pathway and p38 MAPK-associated inflammatory processes play a crucial role in postischemic brain.
- p38 MAPK
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