Administration of Human Protein-C concentrate prevents apoptotic brain cell death after experimental sepsis

Nikolaos Memos, Alex Betrosian, Evangelos Messaris, Maria Boutsikou, Agapi Kataki, Emmy Chatzigianni, Marilena Nikolopoulou, Emmanuel Leandros, Manousos Konstadoulakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Activated Protein C renders anti-apoptotic properties in neurons and endothelial cells. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the in vivo cytoprotective role of Protein C zymogen (PC) administration in septic rat brain. Male Wistar rats (n = 60) were subjected to sepsis via Cecal Ligation and Puncture (CLP). Animals were randomly divided either to receive 100 IU/kg human PC concentrate at 1, 7 and 13 h post CLP (CLP + PC group) or placebo treatment (CLP group). At pre-specified time points (6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 h post CLP) five animals from either group were euthanized and the brain tissue was removed. Apoptosis in both neurons (Neu-N+) and astroglia (GFAP+) was assessed by flow cytometry using 7-aminoactinomycin D (7AAD). Immunohistochemical detection of cleaved caspase 3, bax, bcl-2, cytochrome c and caspase 8 was also performed. PC treated animals had significantly reduced apoptosis in neurons at 6 and 24 h post CLP (p = 0.04 and p = 0.016 respectively) and necrosis at 6, 12 and 60 h post CLP (p = 0.008, p = 0.012 and p = 0.032 respectively). Astrocyte necrosis was also decreased in septic rats receiving PC (6, 12 and 60 h post CLP p = 0.008, p = 0.016 and p = 0.008 respectively). In addition, active caspase 3, bax, cytochrome c and caspase 8 expression was significantly decreased during early sepsis (6-36 h) while bcl-2 expression was increased (24 h p = 0.001 and 60 h p = 0.001) in the PC treated animals compared to placebo. PC concentrate administration in experimental sepsis produced a time dependent inhibition of apoptosis in rat neurons and astrocytes. The inhibition of sepsis related apoptosis concerned both the mitochondrial and caspase 8 dependent pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Apr 6 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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