Understanding the root causes of neuronal vulnerability to ischemia is paramount to the development of new therapies for stroke. Transient global cerebral ischemia (tGCI) leads to selective neuronal cell death in the CA1 sub-region of the hippocampus, while the neighboring CA3 sub-region is left largely intact. By studying factors pertaining to such selective vulnerability, we can develop therapies to enhance outcome after stroke. Using untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, we analyzed temporal metabolomic changes in CA1 and CA3 hippocampal areas following tGCI in rats till the setting of neuronal apoptosis. 64 compounds in CA1 and 74 in CA3 were found to be enriched and statistically significant following tGCI. Pathway analysis showed that pyrimidine and purine metabolism pathways amongst several others to be enriched after tGCI in CA1 and CA3. Metabolomics analysis was able to capture very early changes following ischemia. We detected 6 metabolites to be upregulated and 6 to be downregulated 1 hour after tGCI in CA1 versus CA3. Several metabolites related to apoptosis and inflammation were differentially expressed in both regions after tGCI. We offer a new insight into the process of neuronal apoptosis, guided by metabolomic profiling that was not performed to such an extent previously.
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