Effect of fluoxetine on HIF-1α- Netrin/VEGF cascade, angiogenesis and neuroprotection in a rat model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion

Qimin Hu, Lan Liu, Li Zhou, Haiyan Lu, Jiayi Wang, Xiangyan Chen, Qiaoshu Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Fluoxetine is one of the most promising drugs for improving clinical outcome in patients with ischemic stroke. This in vivo study investigated the hypothesis that fluoxetine may affect HIF-1α-Netrin/VEGF cascade, angiogenesis and neuroprotection using a rat model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). The rats were given fluoxetine or saline after tMCAO for 4 weeks. Then, protein expression of HIF-1α-Netrin/VEGF cascade was examined at 1, 2, 4 weeks after tMCAO. In vivo synchrotron radiation were performed to observe microangiography of ischemic brain after 4 weeks of tMCAO. The infarct size and neurobehavioral test were carried out 1 to 4 weeks after tMCAO. Results revealed that HIF-1α expression was upregulated in fluoxetine-treated group. Similarly, fluoxetine increased protein expression of Netrin and its receptor DCC, VEGF and its receptor VEGFR. Synchrotron radiation angiography revealed more branches in fluoxetine-treated rats. We found no difference of infarct volume between fluoxetine and saline treated rats after 1 week of tMCAO, and ischemia-induced brain atrophy volume in fluoxetine-treated group was attenuated after 4 weeks of tMCAO. Neurological deficits were improved in fluoxetine-treated rats at 3 and 4 weeks after tMCAO. Our results indicated that fluoxetine could upregulate protein expression of HIF-1α-Netrin/VEGF cascade, promote angiogenesis, and improve long-term functional recovery after ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113312
JournalExperimental Neurology
Early online dateApr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Fluoxetine
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α
  • Middle cerebral artery occlusion
  • Netrin-1
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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