Objective: Elevated homocysteine concentrations are a risk factor for stroke. A common genetic polymorphism in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677 C→T) results in elevated levels of homocysteine. MTHFR plays a critical role in the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), a global methyl donor. Our previous work has demonstrated that Mthfr+/- mice, which model the MTHFR polymorphism in humans, are more vulnerable to ischemic damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the cellular mechanisms by which the MTHFR-deficiency changes the brain in the context of ischemic stroke injury. Methods: In the present study, three-month-old male Mthfr+/- and wild-type littermate mice were subjected to photothrombosis (PT) damage. Four weeks after PT damage, animals were tested on behavioral tasks, in vivo imaging was performed using T2-weighted MRI, and brain tissue was collected for histological analysis. Results:Mthfr+/- animals used their non-impaired forepaw more to explore the cylinder and had a larger damage volume compared to wild-type littermates. In brain tissue of Mthfr+/- mice methionine adenosyltransferase II alpha (MAT2A) protein levels were decreased within the damage hemisphere and increased levels in hypoxia-induced factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) in non-damage hemisphere. There was an increased antioxidant response in the damage site as indicated by higher levels of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) in neurons and astrocytes and neuronal superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) levels. Conclusions: Our results suggest that Mthfr+/- mice are more vulnerable to PT-induced stroke damage through the regulation of the cellular response. The increased antioxidant response we observed may be compensatory to the damage amount.

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Nutritional Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience

Abato, J.E. (Jamie E.), Moftah, M. (Mahira), Cron, G.O. (Greg O.), Smith, P, & Jadavji, N.M. (Nafisa M.). (2020). Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency alters cellular response after ischemic stroke in male mice. Nutritional Neuroscience. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2020.1769412