Neuroglobin is up-regulated by and protects neurons from hypoxic-ischemic injury

Y. Sun, K. Jin, Ou Mao Xia Ou Mao, Y. Zhu, D. A. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

462 Scopus citations


Globins are oxygen-binding heme proteins present in bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Their functions have diverged widely in evolution, and include binding, transport, scavenging, detoxification, and sensing of gases like oxygen, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide. Neuroglobin (Ngb) is a recently discovered monomeric globin with high affinity for oxygen and preferential localization to vertebrate brain. No function for Ngb is known, but its affinity for oxygen and its expression in cerebral neurons suggest a role in neuronal responses to hypoxia or ischemia. Here we report that Ngb expression is increased by neuronal hypoxia in vitro and focal cerebral ischemia in vivo, and that neuronal survival after hypoxia is reduced by inhibiting Ngb expression with an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide and enhanced by Ngb overexpression. Both induction of Ngb and its protective effect show specificity for hypoxia over other stressors. We conclude that hypoxia-inducible Ngb expression helps promote neuronal survival from hypoxic-ischemic injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15306-15311
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2001


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