NOS3 inhibition confers post-ischemic protection to young and aging white matter integrity by conserving mitochondrial dynamics and Miro-2 levels

Chinthasagar Bastian, Jane Zaleski, Katharine Stahon, Brandon Parr, Andrew McCray, Jerica Day, Sylvain Brunet, Selva Baltan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


White matter (WM) damage following a stroke underlies a majority of the neurological disability that is subsequently observed. Although ischemic injury mechanisms are age-dependent, conserving axonal mitochondria provides consistent post-ischemic protection to young and aging WM. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activation is a major cause of oxidative and mitochondrial injury in gray matter during ischemia; therefore, we used a pure WM tract, isolated male mouse optic nerve, to investigate whether NOS inhibition provides post-ischemic functional recovery by preserving mitochondria. We show that pan-NOS inhibition applied before oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) promotes functional recovery of young and aging axons and preserves WM cellular architecture. This protection correlates with reduced nitric oxide (NO) generation, restored glutathione production, preserved axonal mitochondria and oligodendrocytes, and preserved ATP levels. Pan-NOS inhibition provided post-ischemic protection to only young axons, whereas selective inhibition of NOS3 conferred post-ischemic protection to both young and aging axons. Concurrently, genetic deletion of NOS3 conferred long-lasting protection to young axons against ischemia. OGD upregulated NOS3 levels in astrocytes, and we show for the first time that inhibition of NOS3 generation in glial cells prevents axonal mitochondrial fission and restores mitochondrial motility to confer protection to axons by preserving Miro-2 levels. Interestingly, NOS1 inhibition exerted post-ischemic protection selectively to aging axons, which feature age-dependent mechanisms of oxidative injury in WM. Our study provides the first evidence that inhibition of glial NOS activity confers long-lasting benefits to WM function and structure and suggests caution in defining the role of NO in cerebral ischemia at vascular and cellular levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6247-6266
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 11 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ischemia
  • Miro-2
  • Mitochondria
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Oxidative stress
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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