Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(7):901-910. doi:10.7150/ijbs.18404 This issue

Research Paper

Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides Decrease Hyperglycemia-Aggravated Ischemic Brain Injury through Maintaining Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion Balance

Wen-Jing Liu*, Hai-Feng Jiang*, Faisal UL Rehman*, Jing-Wen Zhang, Yue Chang, Li Jing, Jian-Zhong Zhang

School of Basic Medical Science, Ningxia Key Laboratory of Cerebrocranial Diseases-Incubation Base of National Key Laboratory, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan 750004, China
* Wen-Jing Liu, Hai-Feng Jiang and Faisal UL Rehman have contributed equally to this study and share first authorship.

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Liu WJ, Jiang HF, Rehman FUL, Zhang JW, Chang Y, Jing L, Zhang JZ. Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides Decrease Hyperglycemia-Aggravated Ischemic Brain Injury through Maintaining Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion Balance. Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(7):901-910. doi:10.7150/ijbs.18404. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Although it has been reported that polysaccharides found in Lycium barbarum possess neuroprotective effects, little is known of their ability to ameliorate hyperglycemia-aggravated ischemia/reperfusion brain injury. In this study, normoglycemic (NG) and hyperglycemic (HG) rats were compared after 30 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), followed by 24 or 27 hours of reperfusion, with HG rats pretreated with lyceum barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) or insulin. In each group, the neurological deficit, infarct volume, pathohistology, and expression of proteins, Opa1 and Drp1, were assessed to determine the efficacy of LBP in alleviating hyperglycemia-aggravated ischemia/reperfusion brain injury. Our results show that, compared to the NG group, the HG group had increases in neurological deficits, infarct volume, and evidence of neuronal pyknosis at 24- and/or 72-h of reperfusion (P<0.05) and that pre-treatment with LBP decreased these effects (P<0.05). In addition, immunohistochemistry revealed an increase of Drp1 and a decrease of Opa1 positive neurons in the HG group after 24 and 72 hours of reperfusion when compared to the NG group. LBP treatment prevented the HG-induced alterations in Drp-1 and Opa1 expression. Western blots further confirmed these findings showing that HG caused an increase in phospho-Drp1 and a decrease in Opa1 which were subsequently reversed by LBP addition. These results suggest that hyperglycemia-aggravated ischemic brain damage is associated with an alteration of mitochondrial dynamics and that pre-treatment with LBP ameliorates the hyperglycemia-enhanced ischemic brain damage through maintaining mitochondrial dynamic balance.

Keywords: Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, hyperglycemia, neuroprotection, cerebral ischemia and reperfusion, mitochondrial fission/fusion, dynamin-related protein 1, optic atrophy 1.