Autophagy in neonatal hypoxia ischemic brain is associated with oxidative stress

Qing Lu, Valerie A. Harris, Sanjv Kumar, Heidi M. Mansour, Stephen M. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Autophagy is activated when the neonatal brain exposed to hypoxia ischemia (HI), but the mechanisms underlying its activation and its role in the neuronal cell death associated with HI is unclear. We have previously shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase play an important role in HI-mediated neuronal cell death. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine if ROS is involved in the activation of autophagy in HI-mediated neonatal brain injury and to determine if this is a protective or deleterious pathway. Initial electron microscopy data demonstrated that autophagosome formation is elevated in P7 hippocampal slice cultures exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). This corresponded with increased levels of LC3II mRNA and protein. The autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine (3-MA) effectively reduced LC3II levels and autophagosome formation in hippocampal slice cultures exposed to OGD. Neuronal cell death was significantly attenuated. Finally, we found that the pharmacologic inhibition of NADPH oxidase using apocynin or gp91ds-tat decreased autophagy in hippocampal slice cultures and the rat brain respectively. Thus, our results suggest that an activation of autophagy contributes to neonatal HI brain injury this is oxidative stress dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-523
Number of pages8
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Autophagy
  • Hypoxia-ischemia
  • NADPH oxidase
  • Neonatal brain
  • Neuronal cell death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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