This study aimed to investigate the effects of enriched environment (EE) on promoting angiogenesis and neurobehavioral function in an animal model of chronic hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain injury. HI brain damage was induced in seven day-old CD-1® mice by unilateral carotid artery ligation and exposure to hypoxia (8% O2 for 90 min). At six weeks of age, the mice were randomly assigned to either EE or standard cages (SC) for two months. Rotarod, forelimb-use asymmetry, and grip strength tests were performed to evaluate neurobehavioral function. In order to identify angiogenic growth factors regulated by EE, an array-based multiplex ELISA assay was used to measure the expression in frontal cortex, striatum, and cerebellum. Among the growth factors, the expression of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) was confirmed using western blotting. Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were also evaluated using immunohistochemistry. As a result, mice exposed to EE showed significant improvements in rotarod and ladder walking performances compared to SC controls. The level of FGF-2 was significantly higher in the frontal cortex of EE mice at 8 weeks after treatment in multiplex ELISA and western blot. On the other hand, FGF-2 in the striatum significantly increased at 2 weeks after exposure to EE earlier than in the frontal cortex. Expression of activin A was similarly upregulated as FGF-2 expression pattern. Particularly, all animals treated with FGF-2 neutralizing antibody abolished the beneficial effect of EE on motor performance relative to mice not given anti-FGF-2. Immunohistochemistry showed that densities of α-SMA+ and PECAM-1+ cells in frontal cortex, striatum, and hippocampus were significantly increased following EE, suggesting the histological findings exhibit a similar pattern to the upregulation of FGF-2 in the brain. In conclusion, EE enhances endogenous angiogenesis and neurobehavioral functions mediated by upregulation of FGF-2 in chronic hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)