Regulation and Role of Neuron-Derived Hemoglobin in the Mouse Hippocampus

Yujiao Lu, Jing Wang, Fulei Tang, Uday P. Pratap, Gangadhara R. Sareddy, Krishnan M. Dhandapani, Ana Capuano, Zoe Arvanitakis, Ratna K. Vadlamudi, Darrell W. Brann

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6 Scopus citations


Hemoglobin (Hb) is the oxygen transport protein in erythrocytes. In blood, Hb is a tetramer consisting of two Hb-alpha (Hb-α) chains and two Hb-beta (Hb-β) chains. A number of studies have also shown that Hb-α is also expressed in neurons in both the rodent and human brain. In the current study, we examined for age-related regulation of neuronal Hb-α and hypoxia in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of intact male and female mice. In addition, to confirm the role and functions of neuronal Hb-α, we also utilized lentivirus CRISPR interference-based Hb-α knockdown (Hb-α CRISPRi KD) in the non-ischemic and ischemic mouse hippocampus and examined the effect on neuronal oxygenation, as well as induction of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and its downstream pro-apoptotic factors, PUMA and NOXA, and on neuronal survival and neurodegeneration. The results of the study revealed an age-related decrease in neuronal Hb-α levels and correlated increase in hypoxia in the hippocampus and cortex of intact male and female mice. Sex differences were observed with males having higher neuronal Hb-α levels than females in all brain regions at all ages. In vivo Hb-α CRISPRi KD in the mouse hippocampus resulted in increased hypoxia and elevated levels of HIF-1α, PUMA and NOXA in the non-ischemic and ischemic mouse hippocampus, effects that were correlated with a significant decrease in neuronal survival and increased neurodegeneration. As a whole, these findings indicate that neuronal Hb-α decreases with age in mice and has an important role in regulating neuronal oxygenation and neuroprotection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5360
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2 2022


  • aging
  • brain
  • cerebral ischemia
  • hemoglobin
  • hypoxia
  • neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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