Effect of graded hypoxia on cerebral cortical genomic DNA fragmentation in newborn piglets
Akhter, W.; Ashraf, Q.M.; Zanelli, S.A.; Mishra, O.P.; Delivoria-Papadopoulos, M.
Biology of the Neonate 79(3-4): 187-193
ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3126 PMID: 11275649 Accession: 010524747
Previous studies have shown that hypoxia is associated with modification of the cerebral cortical nuclear membrane, leading to increased intranuclear calcium. The increased intranuclear calcium activates calcium-dependent endonucleases, resulting in DNA fragmentation. The present study tests the hypothesis that the fragmentation of neuronal genomic DNA increases with an increase in the degree of cerebral tissue hypoxia. Sixteen newborn piglets were anesthetized, ventilated and divided into normoxic and hypoxic groups with varying degrees of hypoxia. Cerebral hypoxia was documented biochemically by measuring tissue levels of ATP and phosphocreatine. Isolation of cerebral cortical neuronal nuclei and DNA and their purity was confirmed by standard techniques. DNA samples were separated by electrophoresis on 1% agarose gel and stained with ethidium bromide. In the hypoxic samples, multiple low-molecular-weight DNA fragments were present as a smear pattern from 200 to 2,000 base pairs. Levels of high-energy phosphates were compared to the area of each smear for each animal to correlate the degree of hypoxia with the degree of DNA fragmentation. DNA fragmentation increased when high-energy phosphate levels decreased. We conclude that there is a critical threshold value of oxidative metabolism beyond which there are progressive changes in the cortical neuronal cells, leading to DNA fragmentation.