Recent works highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent pathways in the context of brain ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI). Although cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI) has emerged as a key mediator of the protective effects of nitric oxide (NO) and cGMP, the mechanisms by which cGKI attenuates IRI remain poorly understood. We used a novel, conditional cGKI knockout mouse model to study its role in cerebral IRI. We assessed neurological deficit, infarct volume, and cerebral perfusion in tamoxifen-inducible vascular smooth muscle cell-specific cGKI knockout mice and control animals. Stroke experiments revealed greater cerebral infarct volume in smooth muscle cell specific cGKI knockout mice (males: 96 ± 16 mm3; females: 93 ± 12 mm3, mean±SD) than in all control groups: wild type (males: 66 ± 19; females: 64 ± 14), cGKI control (males: 65 ± 18; females: 62 ± 14), cGKI control with tamoxifen (males: 70 ± 8; females: 68 ± 10). Our results identify, for the first time, a protective role of cGKI in vascular smooth muscle cells during ischemic stroke injury. Moreover, this protective effect of cGKI was found to be independent of gender and was mediated via improved reperfusion. These results suggest that cGKI in vascular smooth muscle cells should be targeted by therapies designed to protect brain tissue against ischemic stroke.
- Cerebral blood flow
- cGMP-dependent protein kinase I
- ischemia–reperfusion injury
- middle cerebral artery occlusion-reperfusion model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine