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Changes in arginase isoforms in a murine model of neonatal brain hypoxia–ischemia



Arginases (ARG isoforms, ARG-1/ARG-2) are key regulatory enzymes of inflammation and tissue repair; however, their role after neonatal brain hypoxia (H) and hypoxia-ischemia (HI) remains unknown.


C57BL/6 mice subjected to the Vannucci procedure on postnatal day (P9) were sacrificed at different timepoints. The degree of brain damage was assessed histologically. ARG spatiotemporal localization was determined via immunohistochemistry. ARG expression was measured by Western blot and activity spectrophotometrically.


ARG isoform expression increased during neurodevelopment (P9-P17) in the cortex and hippocampus. This was suppressed with H and HI only in the hippocampus. In the cortex, both isoforms increased with H alone and only ARG-2 increased with HI at 3 days. ARG activity during neurodevelopment remained unchanged, but increased at 1 day with H and not HI. ARG-1 localized with microglia at the injury site as early as 4 h after injury, while ARG-2 localized with neurons.


ARG isoform expression increases with age from P9 to P17, but is suppressed by injury specifically in the hippocampus and not in the cortex. Both levels and activity of ARG isoforms increase with H, while ARG-1 immunolabelling is upregulated in the HI cortex. Evidently, ARG isoforms in the brain differ in spatiotemporal localization, expression, and activity during neurodevelopment and after injury.


Arginase isoforms change during neurodevelopment and after neonatal brain HI. This is the first study investigating the key enzymes of inflammation and tissue repair called arginases following murine neonatal brain HI. The highly region- and cell-specific expression suggests the possibility of specific functions of arginases. ARG-1 in microglia at the injury site may regulate neuroinflammation, while ARG-2 in neurons of developmental structures may impact neurodevelopment. While further studies are needed to describe the exact role of ARGs after neonatal brain HI, our study adds valuable data on anatomical localization and expression of ARGs in brain during development and after stroke.

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