G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor activation upregulates interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in the hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia: Implications for neuronal self-defense

Ning Bai, Quanguang Zhang, Wenli Zhang, Bin Liu, Fang Yang, Darrell Brann, Ruimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER/GPR30) is a novel membrane-associated estrogen receptor that can induce rapid kinase signaling in various cells. Activation of GPER can prevent hippocampal neuronal cell death following transient global cerebral ischemia (GCI), although the mechanisms remain unclear. In the current study, we sought to address whether GPER activation exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects in the rat hippocampus after GCI as a potential mechanism to limit neuronal cell death. Methods: GCI was induced by four-vessel occlusion in ovariectomized female SD rats. Specific agonist G1 or antagonist G36 of GPER was administrated using minipump, and antisense oligonucleotide (AS) of interleukin-1β receptor antagonist (IL1RA) was administrated using brain infusion kit. Protein expression of IL1RA, NF-κB-P65, phosphorylation of CREB (p-CREB), Bcl2, cleaved caspase 3, and microglial markers Iba1, CD11b, as well as inflammasome components NLRP3, ASC, cleaved caspase 1, and Cle-IL1β in the hippocampal CA1 region were investigated by immunofluorescent staining and Western blot analysis. The Duolink II in situ proximity ligation assay (PLA) was performed to detect the interaction between NLRP3 and ASC. Immunofluorescent staining for NeuN and TUNEL analysis were used to analyze neuronal survival and apoptosis, respectively. We performed Barnes maze and Novel object tests to compare the cognitive function of the rats. Results: The results showed that G1 attenuated GCI-induced elevation of Iba1 and CD11b in the hippocampal CA1 region at 14 days of reperfusion, and this effect was blocked by G36. G1 treatment also markedly decreased expression of the NLRP3-ASC-caspase 1 inflammasome and IL1β activation, as well as downstream NF-κB signaling, the effects reversed by G36 administration. Intriguingly, G1 caused a robust elevation in neurons of a well-known endogenous anti-inflammatory factor IL1RA, which was reversed by G36 treatment. G1 also enhanced p-CREB level in the hippocampus, a transcription factor known to enhance expression of IL1RA. Finally, in vivo IL1RA-AS abolished the anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-apoptotic effects of G1 after GCI and reversed the cognitive-enhancing effects of G1 at 14 days after GCI. Conclusions: Taken together, the current results suggest that GPER preserves cognitive function following GCI in part by exerting anti-inflammatory effects and enhancing the defense mechanism of neurons by upregulating IL1RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER/GPR30)
  • Global cerebral ischemia
  • Inflammasome
  • Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL1RA)
  • NACHT-, LRR- and PYD-containing protein 3 (NLRP3)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor activation upregulates interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in the hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia: Implications for neuronal self-defense'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this