A11, a novel diaryl acylhydrazone derivative, exerts neuroprotection against ischemic injury in vitro and in vivo

Hong-xuan Feng1,2, Chun-pu Li3, Shuang-jie Shu2,3,4, Hong Liu1,3, Hai-yan Zhang1,3
1 CAS Key Laboratory of Receptor Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 555 Zu Chong Zhi Road, Shanghai 201203, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
3 State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
Correspondence to: Hong Liu:, Hai-yan Zhang:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-018-0028-4
Received: 3 January 2018
Accepted: 9 April 2018
Advance online: 20 June 2018


There is an urgent need to develop effective therapies for ischemic stroke, but the complicated pathological processes after ischemia make doing so difficult. In the current study, we identified a novel diaryl acylhydrazone derivative, A11, which has multiple neuroprotective properties in ischemic stroke models. First, A11 was demonstrated to induce neuroprotection against ischemic injury in a dose-dependent manner (from 0.3 to 3 μM) in three in vitro experimental ischemic stroke models: oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD), hydrogen peroxide, and glutamate-stimulated neuronal cell injury models. Moreover, A11 was able to potently alleviate three critical pathological changes, apoptosis, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, following ischemic insult in neuronal cells. Further analysis revealed that A11 upregulated the phosphorylation levels of protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in OGD-exposed neuronal cells, suggesting joint activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK)/ERK pathways. In rats with middle cerebral artery occlusion, single-dose administration of A11 (3 mg/kg per day, i.v.) at the onset of reperfusion significantly reduced the infarct volumes and ameliorated neurological deficits. Our study, for the first time, reports the anti-ischemic effect of diaryl acylhydrazone chemical entities, especially A11, which acts on multiple ischemia-associated pathological processes. Our results may provide new clues for the development of an effective therapeutic agent for ischemic stroke.
Keywords: ischemic stroke; neuroprotection; diaryl acylhydrazone; oxygen glucose deprivation; middle cerebral artery occlusion; protein kinase B; extracellular signal-regulated kinase

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