Transgenic overexpression of neuroglobin attenuates formation of smoke-inhalation-induced oxidative DNA damage, in vivo, in the mouse brain

Heung Man Lee, George H. Greeley, Ella W. Englander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Acute inhalation of combustion smoke causes neurological deficits in survivors. Inhaled smoke includes carbon monoxide, noxious gases, and a hypoxic environment, which disrupt oxygenation and generate free radicals. To replicate a smoke-inhalation scenario, we developed an experimental model of acute exposure to smoke for the awake mouse/rat and detected induction of biomarkers of oxidative stress. These include inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory complexes and formation of oxidative DNA damage in the brain. DNA damage is likely to contribute to neuronal dysfunction and progression of brain injury. In the search for strategies to attenuate the smoke-initiated brain injury, we produced a transgenic mouse overexpressing the neuronal globin protein neuroglobin. Neuroglobin was neuroprotective in diverse models of ischemic/hypoxic/toxic brain injuries. Here, we report lesser inhibition of respiratory complex I and reduced formation of smoke-induced DNA damage in neuroglobin transgenic compared to wild-type mouse brain. DNA damage was assessed using the standard comet assay, as well as a modified comet assay done in conjunction with an enzyme that excises oxidized guanines that form readily under conditions of oxidative stress. Both comet assays revealed that overexpressed neuroglobin attenuates the formation of oxidative DNA damage, in vivo, in the brain. These findings suggest that elevated neuroglobin exerts neuroprotection, in part, by decreasing the impact of acute smoke inhalation on the integrity of neuronal DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2281-2287
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2011



  • Brain
  • Comet assay
  • Free radicals
  • Neuroglobin
  • Oxidative DNA damage
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Transgenic mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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