Tert-butylhydroquinone compromises survival in murine experimental stroke

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tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), an Nrf2 signaling pathway inducer that is widely used as a food additive in the U.S., prevents oxidative stress-induced cytotoxicity in neurons. This study assesses the effects of tBHQ on ischemic stroke outcomes in mice. We measured infarct size, neurological deficits, and brain volume after tBHQ treatments in murine permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) model in vivo. Further, we evaluated the regulation of tBHQ on mitochondrial function in cerebrovascular endothelial cells in vitro, which is critical to the blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Our results demonstrated that tBHQ increased post-stroke mortality and worsened stroke outcomes. Mitochondrial function was suppressed by tBHQ treatment of cerebrovascular endothelial cells, and this suppression was potentiated by co-treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the bacterial mimic. These data indicate that tBHQ-exacerbated stroke damage might due to the compromised BBB permeability in permanent stroke.