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Publication Title

Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery



Brain injury, leading to long-term neurodevelopmental deficits, is a major complication in neonates undergoing cardiac surgeries. Because the striatum is one of the most vulnerable brain regions, we used mRNA sequencing to unbiasedly identify transcriptional changes in the striatum after cardiopulmonary bypass and associated deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.


Piglets were subjected to cardiopulmonary bypass with deep hypothermic circulatory arrest at 18°C for 30 minutes and then recovered for 6 hours. mRNA sequencing was performed to compare changes in gene expression between the striatums of sham control and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest brains.


We found 124 significantly upregulated genes and 74 significantly downregulated genes in the striatums of the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest group compared with the sham controls. Pathway enrichment analysis demonstrated that inflammation and apoptosis were the strongest pathways activated after surgery. Chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CCL2 were the top upregulated genes with 32.4-fold, 22.2-fold, and 17.6-fold increased expression, respectively, in the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest group compared with sham controls. Concomitantly, genes involved in cell proliferation, cell-cell adhesion, and structural integrity were significantly downregulated in the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest group. Analysis of promoter regions of all upregulated genes revealed over-representation of nuclear factor-kB transcription factor binding sites.


Our study provides a comprehensive view of global transcriptional changes in the striatum after deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and found strong activation of both inflammatory and apoptotic signaling pathways in the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest group. Nuclear factor-kB, a key driver of inflammation, appears to be an upstream regulator of the majority of the upregulated genes; hence, nuclear factor-kB inhibitors could potentially be tested for beneficial effects on neurologic outcome.



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cardiac surgery, congenital heart disease, developing brain, nuclear factor-kB, striatum