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Hua-Jun Zhou, Tao Tang, Han-Jin Cui, A-Li Yang, Jie-Kun Luo, Yuan Lin, Qi-Dong Yang and Xing-Qun Li


Angiogenesis occurs after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Thrombin mediates mitogenesis and survival in endothelial cells and induces angiogenesis. The present study aimed to clarify whether thrombin is involved in triggering ICH-related angiogenesis.


In the first part of the experiment, autologous blood (with or without hirudin) was injected to induce ICH. In the second part, rats received either 1 U (50 μl) thrombin or 50 μl 0.9% sterile saline. In both parts, 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered intraperitoneally. Brains were perfused to identify BrdU-positive/von Willebrand factor (vWF)–positive nuclei. The expression of hypoxia-inducible factor–1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and Ang-2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.


After ICH, the number of BrdU-/vWF-positive nuclei increased until Day 14, and vessels positive for HIF-1α, VEGF, Ang-1, and Ang-2 were observed around the clot. Quantitative analysis showed that ICH upregulated expression of HIF-1α, VEGF, Ang-1, and Ang-2 notably compared with that in sham controls (p < 0.05). However, hirudin significantly inhibited these effects. After thrombin treatment, many BrdU-positive/vWF-positive nuclei and HIF-1α–, VEGF-, Ang-1– and Ang-2–positive vessels could be detected around the affected region.


Thrombin can induce angiogenesis in rat brains and may be an important trigger for ICH-related angiogenesis.

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Jian-Hua Zhong, Hua-Jun Zhou, Tao Tang, Han-Jin Cui, A-Li Yang, Qi-Mei Zhang, Jing-Hua Zhou, Qiang Zhang, Xun Gong, Zhao-Hui Zhang and Zhi-Gang Mei


Reactive astrogliosis, a key feature that is characterized by glial proliferation, has been observed in rat brains after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). However, the mechanisms that control reactive astrogliosis formation remain unknown. Notch-1 signaling plays a critical role in modulating reactive astrogliosis. The purpose of this paper was to establish whether Notch-1 signaling is involved in reactive astrogliosis after ICH.


ICH was induced in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats via stereotactic injection of autologous blood into the right globus pallidus. N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT) was injected into the lateral ventricle to block Notch-1 signaling. The rats’ brains were perfused to identify proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive/GFAP-positive nuclei. The expression of GFAP, Notch-1, and the activated form of Notch-1 (Notch intracellular domain [NICD]) and its ligand Jagged-1 was assessed using immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses, respectively.


Notch-1 signaling was upregulated and activated after ICH as confirmed by an increase in the expression of Notch-1 and NICD and its ligand Jagged-1. Remarkably, blockade of Notch-1 signaling with the specific inhibitor DAPT suppressed astrocytic proliferation and GFAP levels caused by ICH. In addition, DAPT improved neurological outcome after ICH.


Notch-1 signaling is a critical regulator of ICH-induced reactive astrogliosis, and its blockage may be a potential therapeutic strategy for hemorrhagic injury.

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Hanjin Cui, Ali Yang, Huajun Zhou, Yang Wang, Jiekun Luo, Jun Zhou, Tao Liu, Pengfei Li, Jing Zhou, En Hu, Zehui He, Wang Hu and Tao Tang


Thrombin is a unique factor that triggers post-intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) angiogenesis by increasing hypoxia-inducible factor–1α (HIF-1α) at the protein level. However, HIF-1α mRNA remains unchanged. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate posttranscriptional regulation by suppressing protein translation from mRNAs. This study aimed to determine if miRNAs might be involved in thrombin-induced angiogenesis after ICH by targeting HIF-1α or its upstream prolyl hydroxylase domains (PHDs).


The study was divided into two parts. In part 1, rats received an injection of thrombin into the right globus pallidus. An miRNA array combined with miRNA target prediction, luciferase activity assay, and miRNA mimic/inhibitor transfection were used to identify candidate miRNAs and target genes. Part 2 included experiments 1 and 2. In experiment 1, rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, and ICH+hirudin–treated (thrombin inhibitor) group. In experiment 2, the rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, ICH+antagomir group, ICH+antagomir-control group, and ICH+vehicle group. Western blotting and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to determine the expression of protein and miRNA, respectively. The coexpression of miR-24–1-5p (abbreviated to miR-24) and von Willebrand factor was detected by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis. The angiogenesis was evaluated by double-labeling immunofluorescence. Neurological function was evaluated by body weight, modified Neurological Severity Scores, and corner turn and foot-fault tests.


In part 1, it was shown that miR-24, which is predicted to target PHD1, was upregulated (fold-change of 1.83) after thrombin infusion, and that the miR-24 mimic transfection decreased luciferase activity and downregulated PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). miR-24 inhibitor transfection increased PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). In part 2, it was shown that miR-24 was expressed in endothelial cells. The HIF-1α protein level and proliferating cell nuclear antigen–positive (PCNA+) nuclei in vessels were increased, while the PHD1 protein level was decreased after ICH, and these effects were reversed by hirudin (p < 0.05). The antagomiR-24–treated rats exhibited a markedly lower body weight and significantly poorer recovery from neurological deficit compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05). AntagomiR-24 intervention also led to lower miR-24 expression, a higher PHD1 protein level, and fewer PCNA+ nuclei in vessels compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05).


The present study suggests that thrombin reduces HIF-1α degradation and initiates angiogenesis by increasing miR-24, which targets PHD1 after ICH.