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Papers of the Week

2023 Jun

Neural Regen Res



Argon preconditioning protects neuronal cells with a Toll-like receptor-mediated effect.


Scheid S, Lejarre A, Wollborn J, Buerkle H, Goebel U, Ulbrich F
Neural Regen Res. 2023 Jun; 18(6):1371-1377.
PMID: 36453425.


The noble gas argon has the potential to protect neuronal cells from cell death. So far, this effect has been studied in treatment after acute damage. Preconditioning using argon has not yet been investigated. In this study, human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were treated with different concentrations of argon (25%, 50%, and 74%; 21% O, 5% CO, balance nitrogen) at different time intervals before inflicting damage with rotenone (20 µM, 4 hours). Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry after annexin V and propidium iodide staining. Surface expressions of Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 were also examined. Cells were also processed for analysis by western blot and qPCR to determine the expression of apoptotic and inflammatory proteins, such as extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK1/2), nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB), protein kinase B (Akt), caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, interleukin-8, and heat shock proteins. Immunohistochemical staining was performed for TLR2 and 4 and interleukin-8. Cells were also pretreated with OxPAPC, an antagonist of TLR2 and 4 to elucidate the molecular mechanism. Results showed that argon preconditioning before rotenone application caused a dose-dependent but not a time-dependent reduction in the number of apoptotic cells. Preconditioning with 74% argon for 2 hours was used for further experiments showing the most promising results. Argon decreased the surface expression of TLR2 and 4, whereas OxPAPC treatment partially abolished the protective effect of argon. Argon increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2 but decreased NF-κB and Akt. Preconditioning inhibited mitochondrial apoptosis and the heat shock response. Argon also suppressed the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-8. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the alteration of TLRs and interleukin-8. OxPAPC reversed the argon effect on ERK1/2, Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3, and interleukin-8 expression, but not on NF-κB and the heat shock proteins. Taken together, argon preconditioning protects against apoptosis of neuronal cells and mediates its action via Toll-like receptors. Argon may represent a promising therapeutic alternative in various clinical settings, such as the treatment of stroke.