Recent studies have shown that growth hormone (GH) can reduce neuronal loss after hypoxic-ischemic injury (HI) in neonatal and juvenile rat brains. Here, we investigated whether GH exerts its neuroprotective role through an anti-apoptotic effect in neonatal rat brains damaged by severe HI. Gross and histological observations showed that the extent of brain damage was found to be reduced in GH-treated brain at E7 after injury. In a terminal transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end-labeling (TUNEL) study, TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells were localized only at the damaged region in animals treated with saline, which was confirmed by an electron microscopy. In an immunohistochemical study with anti-bcl-2, -bax, -bad, -neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), -inducible NOS (iNOS) and -endothelial NOS (eNOS) antibodies, we observed that bax, bad, iNOS and eNOS were elevated in the saline-treated group. This study thus suggests that the protective role of GH against HI injury is mediated thorough an anti-apoptotic effect, which offers the possibility of a GH application for the treatment of neonatal HI encephalopathy.
- Growth hormone
- Nitric oxide synthase
- Terminal transferase mediated dUTP nick end labeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas