The cell-permeable mitochondrial calcium uniporter inhibitor Ru265 preserves cortical neuron respiration after lethal oxygen glucose deprivation and reduces hypoxic/ischemic brain injury

Robyn J. Novorolsky, Matthew Nichols, Jong S. Kim, Evgeny V. Pavlov, Joshua J Woods, Justin J. Wilson, George S. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) uniporter (MCU) mediates high-capacity mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake implicated in ischemic/reperfusion cell death. We have recently shown that inducible MCU ablation in Thy1-expressing neurons renders mice resistant to sensorimotor deficits and forebrain neuron loss in a model of hypoxic/ischemic (HI) brain injury. These findings encouraged us to compare the neuroprotective effects of Ru360 and the recently identified cell permeable MCU inhibitor Ru265. Unlike Ru360, Ru265 (2–10 µM) reached intracellular concentrations in cultured cortical neurons that preserved cell viability, blocked the protease activity of Ca2+-dependent calpains and maintained mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis after a lethal period of oxygen–glucose deprivation (OGD). Intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of adult male C57Bl/6 mice with Ru265 (3 mg/kg) also suppressed HI-induced sensorimotor deficits and brain injury. However, higher doses of Ru265 (10 and 30 mg/kg, i.p.) produced dose-dependent increases in the frequency and duration of seizure-like behaviours. Ru265 is proposed to promote convulsions by reducing Ca2+ buffering and energy production in highly energetic interneurons that suppress brain seizure activity. These findings support the therapeutic potential of MCU inhibition in the treatment of ischemic stroke but also indicate that such clinical translation will require drug delivery strategies which mitigate the pro-convulsant effects of Ru265.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1181
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020



  • Calcium
  • cerebral ischemia
  • mitochondria
  • motor seizures
  • neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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