Novel mitoNEET ligand NL-1 improves therapeutic outcomes in an aged rat model of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury

Aruvi Vijikumar, Pushkar Saralkar, Scott D. Saylor, Patrick G. Sullivan, Jason D. Huber, Werner J. Geldenhuys

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4 Scopus citations


Cerebral ischemic stroke is a leading cause of mortality and disability worldwide. Currently, there are a lack of drugs capable of reducing neuronal cell loss due to ischemia/reperfusion-injury after stroke. Previously, we identified mitoNEET, a [2Fe-2S] redox mitochondrial protein, as a putative drug target for ischemic stroke. In this study, we tested NL-1, a novel mitoNEET ligand, in a preclinical model of ischemic stroke with reperfusion using aged female rats. Using a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO), we induced a 2 h ischemic injury and then evaluated the effects of NL-1 treatment on ischemic/reperfusion brain injury at 24 and 72 h. Test compounds were administered at time of reperfusion via intravenous dosing. Results of the study demonstrated that NL-1 (10 mg/kg) treatment markedly improved survival and reduced infarct volume and hemispheric swelling in the brain as compared aged rats treated with vehicle or a lower dose of NL-1 (0.25 mg/kg). Interestingly, the protective effect of NL-1 was significantly improved when encapsulated in PLGA nanoparticles, where a 40-fold lesser dose (0.25 mg/kg) of NL-1 produced an equivalent effect as the 10 mg/kg dose. Evaluation of changes in blood-brain barrier permeability and lipid peroxidation corroborated the protective actions of NL-1 (10 mg/kg) or NL-1 NP treatment demonstrated a reduced accumulation of parenchymal IgG, decreased levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and a decreased TUNEL positive cells in the brains of aged female rats at 72 h after tMCAO with reperfusion. Our studies indicate that targeting mitoNEET following ischemia/reperfusion-injury is a novel drug target pathway that warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114128
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Electron transport chain
  • Mitoceutical
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative stress
  • tMCAO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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