Stimulation of astrocyte fatty acid oxidation by thyroid hormone is protective against ischemic stroke-induced damage

Naomi L. Sayre, Mikaela Sifuentes, Deborah Holstein, Sheue Yann Cheng, Xuguang Zhu, James D. Lechleiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated that stimulation of astrocyte mitochondrial ATP production via P2Y 1 receptor agonists was neuroprotective after cerebral ischemic stroke. Another mechanism that increases ATP production is fatty acid oxidation (FAO). We show that in primary human astrocytes, FAO and ATP production are stimulated by 3,3,5 triiodo-l-thyronine (T3). We tested whether T3-stimulated FAO enhances neuroprotection, and show that T3 increased astrocyte survival after either hydrogen peroxide exposure or oxygen glucose deprivation. T3-mediated ATP production and protection were both eliminated with etomoxir, an inhibitor of FAO. T3-mediated protection in vitro was also dependent on astrocytes expressing HADHA (hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase/3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase/enoyl-CoA hydratase), which we previously showed was critical for T3-mediated FAO in fibroblasts. Consistent with previous reports, T3-treatment decreased stroke volumes in mice. While T3 decreased stroke volume in etomoxir-treated mice, T3 had no protective effect on stroke volume in HADHA +/- mice or in mice unable to upregulate astrocyte-specific energy production. In vivo, 95% of HADHA co-localize with glial-fibrillary acidic protein, suggesting the effect of HADHA is astrocyte mediated. These results suggest that astrocyte-FAO modulates lesion size and is required for T3-mediated neuroprotection post-stroke. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a neuroprotective role for FAO in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-527
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Astrocyte
  • fatty acid oxidation
  • neuroprotection
  • stroke
  • thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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