Tert-butylhydroquinone post-treatment attenuates neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain damage in rats

Juan Zhang, Lorelei Donovan Tucker, DongYan, Yujiao Lu, Luodan Yang, Chongyun Wu, Yong Li, Quanguang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Hypoxic-ischemic (HI) encephalopathy is a leading cause of dire mortality and morbidity in neonates. Unfortunately, no effective therapies have been developed as of yet. Oxidative stress plays a critical role in pathogenesis and progression of neonatal HI. Previously, as a Nrf2 activator, tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) has been demonstrated to exert neuroprotection on brain trauma and ischemic stroke models, as well as oxidative stress-induced cytotoxicity in neurons. It is, however, still unknown whether TBHQ administration can protect against oxidative stress in neonatal HI brain injury. This study was undertaken to determine the neuroprotective effects and mechanisms of TBHQ post-treatment on neonatal HI brain damage. Using a neonatal HI rat model, we demonstrated that TBHQ markedly abated oxidative stress compared to the HI group, as evidenced by decreased oxidative stress indexes, enhanced Nrf2 nuclear accumulation and DNA binding activity, and up-regulated expression of Nrf2 downstream antioxidative genes. Administration of TBHQ likewise significantly suppressed reactive gliosis and release of inflammatory cytokines, and inhibited apoptosis and neuronal degeneration in the neonatal rat cerebral cortex. In addition, infarct size and neuronal damage were attenuated distinctly. These beneficial effects were accompanied by improved neurological reflex and motor coordination as well as amelioration of spatial learning and memory deficits. Overall, our results provide the first documentation of the beneficial effects of TBHQ in neonatal HI model, in part conferred by activation of Nrf2 mediated antioxidative signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNeurochemistry International
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia
  • Neuroprotection
  • Nrf2
  • Oxidative stress
  • Tert-butylhydroquinone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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