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Plenary Lecture

The Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine, Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Protects Neural Cells Exposed to Experimental Stroke

Professor Keith R. Pennypacker
Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science
Department of Neurology, College of Medicine
University of Kentucky
E-mail: keith.pennypacker@uky.edu

Abstract: Local neurodegenerative and peripheral immune responses are responsible for the neural cell death after stroke. An ideal treatment for stroke should exhibit anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine with known cytoprotective effects. Our laboratory has reported that LIF protects cultured neurons and oligodendrocytes from oxygen glucose deprivation. The presence of LIF activates the survival kinase, Akt, to increase antioxidant gene expression in neurons and oligodendrocytes. Addition of LIF to cultured macrophages not only blocks the pro-inflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide treatment, but induces the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines in these cells. Rats treated with LIF 6 h post-stroke have significantly smaller infarcts and show recovery of their motor skills. Moreover, the white matter tracts retain the structural integrity with LIF administration after experimental stroke. LIF has both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties to be a potential treatment for stroke.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Keith R. Pennypacker, PhD, Professor, Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science, University of Kentucky, Department of Neurology, College of Medicine. Dr. Pennypacker completed his PhD in Pharmacology at Pennsylvania State University, followed by postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He joined the Department of Pharmacology at the University of South Florida in 1995. After 21 years, he moved to the University of Kentucky to take the position as Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science. Dr. Pennypacker’s general area of research expertise has been in area of neurodegeneration after injury but now is investigating novel therapeutic strategies for stroke treatment. These therapies target signal transduction pathways that enhance the survival of neural cells and reduce inflammation. His lab has reported that the post-stroke inflammation originates in the spleen in ischemic and traumatic brain injury. His research efforts have been supported with grants from the American Heart Association and the NIH.

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