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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been shown to be involved in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. TLR9 is located in intracellular compartments and recognizes CpG-DNA. This study examined the effect of CpG-ODN on cerebral I/R injury. C57BL/6 mice were treated with CpG-ODN by i.p. injection 1 hour before the mice were subjected to cerebral ischemia (60 minutes) followed by reperfusion (24 hours). Scrambled-ODN served as control-ODN. Untreated mice, subjected to cerebral I/R, served as I/R control. The effect of inhibitory CpG-ODN (iCpG-ODN) on cerebral I/R injury was also examined. In addition, we examined the therapeutic effect of CpG-ODN on cerebral I/R injury by administration of CpG-ODN 15 minutes after cerebral ischemia. CpG-ODN administration significantly decreased cerebral I/R-induced infarct volume by 69.7% (6.4±1.80% vs 21.0±2.85%, P<0.05), improved neurological scores, and increased survival rate, when compared with the untreated I/R group. Therapeutic administration of CpG-ODN also significantly reduced infarct volume by 44.7% (12.6±2.03% vs 22.8±2.54%, P<0.05) compared with untreated I/R mice. Neither control-ODN, nor iCpG-ODN altered I/R-induced cerebral injury or neurological deficits. Nissl staining showed that CpG-ODN treatment preserved neuronal morphology in the ischemic hippocampus. Immunoblot showed that CpG-ODN administration increased Bcl-2 levels by 41% and attenuated I/R-increased levels of Bax and caspase-3 activity in ischemic brain tissues. Importantly, CpG-ODN treatment induced Akt and GSK-3β phosphorylation in brain tissue and cultured microglial cells. PI3K inhibition with LY294002 abolished CpG-ODN-induced protection. CpG-ODN significantly reduces cerebral I/R injury via a PI3K/Akt-dependent mechanism. Our data also indicate that CpG-ODN may be useful in the therapy of cerebral I/R injury.

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a 2014 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.