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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8640284, 15 pages
Research Article

Hydrogen Sulfide Inhibits Autophagic Neuronal Cell Death by Reducing Oxidative Stress in Spinal Cord Ischemia Reperfusion Injury

Lei Xie,1,2 Sifei Yu,1,2 Kai Yang,1,2 Changwei Li,1,2 and Yu Liang1,2

1Department of Orthopedics, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 197 Ruijin 2nd Road, Shanghai 200025, China
2Shanghai Key Laboratory for Prevention and Treatment of Bone and Joint Diseases with Integrated Chinese-Western Medicine, Shanghai Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 197 Ruijin 2nd Road, Shanghai 200025, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Changwei Li; moc.361@133393iewgnahc and Yu Liang; nc.moc.hjr@43301yl

Received 29 December 2016; Revised 1 April 2017; Accepted 23 April 2017; Published 8 June 2017

Academic Editor: Perla D. Maldonado

Copyright © 2017 Lei Xie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autophagy is upregulated in spinal cord ischemia reperfusion (SCIR) injury; however, its expression mechanism is largely unknown; moreover, whether autophagy plays a neuroprotective or neurodegenerative role in SCIR injury remains controversial. To explore these issues, we created an SCIR injury rat model via aortic arch occlusion. Compared with normal controls, autophagic cell death was upregulated in neurons after SCIR injury. We found that autophagy promoted neuronal cell death during SCIR, shown by a significant number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling- (TUNEL-) positive cells colabeled with the autophagy marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3, while the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine reduced the number of TUNEL-positive cells and restored neurological and motor function. Additionally, we showed that oxidative stress was the main trigger of autophagic neuronal cell death after SCIR injury and N-acetylcysteine inhibited autophagic cell death and restored neurological and motor function in SCIR injury. Finally, we found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) inhibited autophagic cell death significantly by reducing oxidative stress in SCIR injury via the AKT-the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. These findings reveal that oxidative stress induces autophagic cell death and that H2S plays a neuroprotective role by reducing oxidative stress in SCIR.