Gallic acid attenuates cerebral ischemia/re-perfusion-induced blood-brain barrier injury by modifying polarization of microglia.
Microglia, the main immune effector cells in the central nervous system, play a dual role in the function/structure of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and brain health. During and soon after a cerebral ischemic injury, microglia produce neurotrophic factors and neurotoxins that can impact on the injury itself and pathology progression. At the same time, microglia undergo polarization to M1 or M2 pro- vs. anti-inflammatory subtypes that also help drive the outcome of the injury process. Thus, agents that can mitigate cerebral ischemic injury progression, promote protective functions of microglia, and help maintain BBB and overall brain health/host neurologic function after a cerebral ischemic event would be of great use in clinical settings. Protective effects from gallic acid (GA) in cerebral ischemia/re-perfusion-induced injury to the BBB and other sites in the brain have not yet been assessed. To address this, a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) method was used to establish an experimental ischemic stroke model in mice. Mice were placed in sham operation (Sham), model (MCAO), MCAO + GA (50 mg/kg), MCAO + GA (100 mg/kg), or MCAO + GA (150 mg/kg) groups. At various times post-stroke, cerebral infarct volume and host neurological function were evaluated. In addition, qRT-PCR, Western blotting, and ELISA were used to evaluate the expression and tissue content of microglia-related factors. The results showed GA treatment protected the integrity of the BBB, significantly reduced brain edema, and helped lead to improved neurological function scores in the MCAO mice. Whether these changes were due to that GA attenuated cerebral ischemia/re-perfusion-induced activation of microglial cells overall, in part, by inhibiting their polarization to the M1 subtype, is uncertain. Taking these outcomes together, for now it is reasonable to suggest that use of GA either as a prophylactic or immediately in the event of a cerebral ischemic event/stroke could help to promote neuronal survival and allow for a more likely of host neurological function over time.