Bcl-2 protects against both apoptotic and necrotic death induced by several cerebral insults. We and others have previously demonstrated that defective herpes simplex virus vectors expressing Bcl-2 protect against various insults in vitro and in vivo, including cerebral ischemia. Because the infarct margin may be a region that is most amenable to treatment, we first determined whether gene transfer to the infarct margin is possible using a focal ischemia model. Since ischemic injury with and without reperfusion may occur by different mechanisms, we also determined whether Bcl-2 protects against focal cerebral ischemic injury either with or without reperfusion in rats. Bax expression, cytochrome c translocation and activated caspase-3 expression were also assessed. Viral vectors overexpressing Bcl-2 were delivered to the infarct margin. Reperfusion resulted in larger infarcts than permanent occlusion. Bcl-2 overexpression significantly improved neuron survival in both ischemia models. Bcl-2 overexpression did not alter overall Bax expression, but inhibited cytosolic accumulation of cytochrome c and caspase-3 activation. Thus, we provide the first evidence that gene transfer to the infarct margin is feasible, that overexpression of Bcl-2 protects against damage to the infarct margin induced by ischemia with and without reperfusion, and that Bcl-2 overexpression using gene therapy attenuates apoptosis-related proteins. This suggests a potential therapeutic strategy for stroke.
View details for DOI 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01756.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000182476400020
View details for PubMedID 12716434