Alpha-linolenic acid (LIN) has been shown to provide neuroprotective effects against cerebral ischemia. LIN is a potent activator of TREK-1 channel and LIN-induced neuroprotection disappears in Trek1-/- mice, suggesting that this channel is directly related to the LIN-induced resistance of brain against ischemia. However, the cellular mechanism underlying LIN induced neuroprotective effects after ischemia remains unclear. In this study, using a rat photochemical brain ischemia model, we investigated the effects of LIN on the protein abundance of astrocytic glutamate transporter and AQP4, microglia activation, cell apoptosis and behavioral recovery following ischemia. Administration of LIN rescued the protein abundance of astrocytic glutamate transporter GLT-1, decreased the protein abundance of AQP4 and brain edema, inhibited microglia activation, attenuated cell apoptosis and improved behavioral function recovery. Meanwhile, TREK-1 was widely distributed in the cortex and hippocampus, primarily localized in astrocytes and neurons. LIN could potentiate the TREK-1 mediated astrocytic passive conductance and hyperpolarize the membrane potential. Our results suggest that LIN provides multiple cellular neuroprotective effects in cerebral ischemia. TREK-1 may serve as a promising multi-mechanism therapeutic target for the treatment of stroke.
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