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Nur77 promotes cerebral ischemia–reperfusion injury via activating INF2-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation


Mitochondrial fragmentation drastically regulates mitochondrial homeostasis in brain illness. However, the role of mitochondrial fragmentation in cerebral ischemia–reperfusion (IR) injury remains unclear. Nur77, a regulator of mitochondrial homeostasis, is associated with heart and liver IR injury, but its effects on mitochondrial function in cerebral IR injury has not been studied intensively. The aim of our study is to explore whether cerebral IR injury is modulated by Nur77 via modification of mitochondrial homeostasis. Our results indicated that Nur77 was upregulated in reperfused brain tissues. Genetic ablation of Nur77 reduced infarction area and promoted neuron survival under IR burden. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that Nur77 deletion protected mitochondrial function, attenuated mitochondrial oxidative stress, preserved mitochondrial potential, and blocked mitochondria-related cell apoptosis. In addition, we illustrated that Nur77 mediated mitochondrial damage via evoking mitochondrial fragmentation that occurred through increased mitochondrial fission and decreased fusion. Besides, our results also demonstrated that Nur77 controlled mitochondrial fragmentation via upregulating INF2 in a manner dependent on the Wnt/β-catenin pathway; inhibition of the Wnt pathway abrogated the protective effect of Nur77 deletion on reperfused-mediated neurons. Altogether, our study highlights that the pathogenesis of cerebral IR injury is associated with Nur77 activation followed by augmented mitochondrial fragmentation via an abnormal Wnt/β-catenin/INF2 pathway. Accordingly, Nur77-dependent mitochondrial fragmentation and the Wnt/β-catenin/INF2 axis may represent novel therapeutic targets to reduce cerebral IR injury.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.


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Thanks to Dr. Zhenhai Zhang, Dr. Chunsen Shen and Dr. Yunjun Li. Due to the personal reason, these authors have left from PLA army general hospital and are working in Xiangya hospital. According to their request and their new hospital policy, they ask to remove their name from the original submission. All the authors have approved this decision. Thanks for their contributions to this work.


This study was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81100917) and Beijing Nova program (Z171100001117096).

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HZ, YCL, and LHC conceived the research; WLP, HZ and RXX performed the experiments; all authors participated in discussing and revising the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ruxiang Xu.

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The authors have declared that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The animal study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. All experimental protocols were approved by the Ethics Committee of Department of neurosurgery, PLA army general hospital, Beijing, China, Beijing, China. The ethics reference number: SCSSJN20112.

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Zhao, H., Pan, W., Chen, L. et al. Nur77 promotes cerebral ischemia–reperfusion injury via activating INF2-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation. J Mol Hist 49, 599–613 (2018).

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  • Stroke
  • Nur77
  • Cerebral IR injury
  • Wnt/β-catenin/INF2 axis
  • Mitochondrial fragmentation