Rachel Shon Rose Hills
Hexokinase 2 Inhibitors as an Anti-Inflammatory Treatment for Stroke
Stroke is the blockage of blood flow to the brain that can cause lasting damage, disability, and death. Each year, there are at least 795,000 people in the United States who have a stroke. It is known that the inflammatory response can exacerbate cellular injury after stroke, thus, suppressing the immune response is a promising approach to reducing damage. One method of suppressing the immune response would be decreasing immune cell activity by slowing the rate of glucose breakdown through glycolysis. The first step of glycolysis involves the enzyme hexokinase. There are variants of hexokinase and most tissues use hexokinase I. Interestingly, the immune cells of the brain, microglia, use hexokinase II. My project will study the effects of different hexokinase II inhibitors on microglial glucose utilization and inflammatory gene expression. I hope to show that hexokinase II inhibitors decrease glycolytic flux and microglial activation, thus proving that these types of drugs are a potential treatment approach for stroke.