1. Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
2. Department of Anesthesiology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
*ZW and CF contributed equally to this project.
#Current address: Institute of Aging Research, University of Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
We have shown that autoregulation of gene expression by RNA interference is achievable in cell cultures. To determine whether this novel concept could be used to produce neuroprotection under in vivo condition, postnatal day (PND) 3 rats received intracerebroventricular injection of lentivirus that carried or did not carry code for short hairpin RNA (shRNA) of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The expression of this shRNA was controlled by an iNOS promoter (piNOS-shRNA) or cytomegalovirus promoter (pCMV-shRNA). The rats were subjected to brain hypoxia-ischemia at PND7. Ischemic brain tissues had increased iNOS expression. This increase was attenuated by virus carrying piNOS-shRNA. Virus carrying pCMV-shRNA reduced iNOS to a level that was lower than control. Brain tissue loss and functional impairment after the hypoxia-ischemia were attenuated by the virus carrying piNOS-shRNA but not by pCMV-shRNA. Our results provide proof-of-concept evidence that autoregulation of iNOS expression by RNA interference induces neuroprotection in vivo and that appropriate regulation of gene expression is important.
Keywords: autoregulation of gene expression, inducible nitric oxide synthase, neonate, neuroprotection, rats.