Akt isoforms differentially protect against stroke-induced neuronal injury by regulating mTOR activities

Rong Xie, Michelle Cheng, Mei Li, Xiaoxing Xiong, Marcel Daadi, Robert M. Sapolsky, Heng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Protein kinases Akt1 and Akt3 are considered to be more crucial to brain function than Akt2. We investigated the roles of Akt1 and Akt3 in stroke-induced brain injury and examined their interactions with the Akt/mTOR pathways. Focal ischemia was induced in rats. Lentiviral vectors expressing constitutively active Akt1 and Akt3 (cAkt1 and cAkt3) were injected into the ischemic cortex. Infarct sizes and gene and protein expressions in the Akt/mTOR pathways were evaluated. The results show that Akt1 and Akt3 proteins were degraded as early as 1 hour after stroke, whereas Akt2 proteins remained unchanged until 24 hours after stroke. Lentiviral-mediated overexpression of cAkt1 or cAkt3 reduced neuronal death after in vitro and in vivo ischemia. Interestingly, cAkt3 overexpression resulted in stronger protection than cAkt1 overexpression. Western blot analyses further showed that cAkt3 promoted significantly higher levels of phosphorylated Akt and phosphorylated mTOR than cAkt1. The mTOR inhibitor rapamycin blocked the protective effects of both cAkt1 and cAkt3. In conclusion, Akt isoforms are differentially regulated after stroke and Akt3 offers stronger protection than cAkt1 by maintaining Akt levels and promoting mTOR activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1885
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Volume33
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Akt1
  • Akt3
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • mTOR
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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