UCP2 maps nearby the lod score peak of STR1-stroke QTL in the SHRSP rat strain. We explored the potential contribution of UCP2 to the high-salt diet (JD)-dependent increased stroke susceptibility of SHRSP. Male SHRSP, SHRSR, two reciprocal SHRSR/SHRSP-STR1/QTL stroke congenic lines received JD for 4 weeks to detect brain UCP2 gene/protein modulation as compared with regular diet (RD). Brains were also analyzed for NF-κB protein expression, oxidative stress level and UCP2-targeted microRNAs expression level. Next, based on knowledge that fenofibrate and Brassica Oleracea (BO) stimulate UCP2 expression through PPARα activation, we monitored stroke occurrence in SHRSP receiving JD plus fenofibrate versus vehicle, JD plus BO juice versus BO juice plus PPARα inhibitor. Brain UCP2 expression was markedly reduced by JD in SHRSP and in the (SHRsr.SHRsp-(D1Rat134-Mt1pa)) congenic line, whereas NF-κB expression and oxidative stress level increased. The opposite phenomenon was observed in the SHRSR and in the (SHRsp.SHRsr-(D1Rat134-Mt1pa)) reciprocal congenic line. Interestingly, the UCP2-targeted rno-microRNA-503 was significantly upregulated in SHRSP and decreased in SHRSR upon JD, with consistent changes in the two reciprocal congenic lines. Both fenofibrate and BO significantly decreased brain microRNA-503 level, upregulated UCP2 expression and protected SHRSP from stroke occurrence. In vitro overexpression of microRNA-503 in endothelial cells suppressed UCP2 expression and led to a significant increase of cell mortality with decreased cell viability. Brain UCP2 downregulation is a determinant of increased stroke predisposition in high-salt-fed SHRSP. In this context, UCP2 can be modulated by both pharmacological and nutraceutical agents. The microRNA-503 significantly contributes to mediate brain UCP2 downregulation in JD-fed SHRSP.
Rubattu S, Stanzione R, Bianchi F, Cotugno M, Forte M, Ragione FD, Fioriniello S, D'Esposito M, Marchitti S, Madonna M, Baima S, Morelli G, Sciarretta S, Sironi L, Gelosa P, Volpe M. Reduced brain UCP2 expression mediated by microRNA-503 contributes to increased stroke susceptibility in the high-salt fed stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat. Cell Death Dis 2017;8(6):e2891