Research Papers: Autophagy and Cell Death:

Caspase inhibition impaired the neural stem/progenitor cell response after cortical ischemia in mice

Ahmed M. Osman, Susanne Neumann, H. Georg Kuhn and Klas Blomgren _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:2239-2248. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6803

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Ahmed M. Osman1, Susanne Neumann2, H. Georg Kuhn2 and Klas Blomgren1

1 Karolinska Institute, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Center for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Correspondence to:

Klas Blomgren, email:

Keywords: stroke, neurogenesis, migration, Q-VD-OPh, neuroinflammation

Received: October 20, 2015 Accepted: December 23, 2015 Published: December 30, 2015


Cortical ischemia induces proliferation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and provokes migration of these cells toward the injured area. Despite sustained migration of NSPCs for an extended period of time after injury, they do not appear to survive. Here, we hypothesized that the anti-apoptotic broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor Q-VD-OPh would increase NSPC survival in the injured cortex. However, contrary to our expectations, caspase inhibition did not promote NSPC survival and cortical neurogenesis. On the contrary, it abolished ischemia-induced proliferation and decreased the number of migrating neuroblasts in the injured cortex. Moreover, caspase inhibition decreased the levels of the chemoattractant chemokine CCL2 (MCP-1) and the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β. We hence for the first time show that caspase inhibition abrogates the response of NSPCs to an ischemic injury, presumably by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory factors. Thus, caution is warranted if anti-apoptotic strategies are applied for neuroprotection.

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