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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of targeted deletion of the heme oxygenase-2 gene on hemoglobin toxicity in the striatum.

The heme oxygenase (HO) enzymes catalyze the rate-limiting step in the breakdown of heme to iron, carbon monoxide, and biliverdin. A prior cell culture study demonstrated that deletion of HO-2, the isoform constitutively expressed in neurons, attenuated hemoglobin (Hb) neurotoxicity. The present study tested the hypothesis that HO-2 gene deletion is cytoprotective in a model of Hb toxicity in vivo. Stereotactic injection of 6 microL stroma-free Hb (SFHb) into the striatum significantly increased protein oxidation in wild-type mice at 24 to 72 h, as detected by an assay for carbonyl groups. At 72 h, carbonylation was increased 2.5-fold compared with that in the contralateral striatum. In HO-2 knockout mice, protein oxidation was not increased at 24 h, and was increased by only 1.7-fold at 72 h. Similarly, striatal lipid peroxidation, as detected by the malondialdehyde assay, was significantly greater in the SFHb-injected striata of wild-type mice than in knockout mice. Striatal cell viability, determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, was 45.0%+/-6.3% of that in contralateral striata in wild-type mice at 72 h; it was increased to 85%+/-8% in knockouts. Heme oxygenase-2 gene deletion did not alter weight loss or mortality after SFHb injection. Baseline striatal HO-1 expression was similar in knockout and wild-type mice; induction after SFHb injection occurred more rapidly in the latter. These results suggest that HO-2 gene deletion protects striatal cells from the oxidative toxicity of Hb in vivo. Pharmacologic or genetic strategies that target HO-2 may be beneficial after central nervous system hemorrhage, and warrant further investigation.[1]


  1. Effect of targeted deletion of the heme oxygenase-2 gene on hemoglobin toxicity in the striatum. Qu, Y., Chen, J., Benvenisti-Zarom, L., Ma, X., Regan, R.F. J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. (2005) [Pubmed]
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