Background:Hyperglycemia is a common metabolic problem in extremely low-birth-weight preterm infants. Neonatal hyperglycemia is associated with increased mortality and brain injury. Glucose-mediated oxidative injury may be responsible. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear enzyme involved in DNA repair and cell survival. However, PARP-1 overactivation leads to cell death. NF-κB is coactivated with PARP-1 and regulates microglial activation. The effects of recurrent hyperglycemia on PARP-1/NF-κB expression and microglial activation are not well understood.Methods:Rat pups were subjected to recurrent hypoinsulinemic hyperglycemia of 2 h duration twice daily from postnatal (P) day 3-P12 and killed on P13. mRNA and protein expression of PARP-1/NF-κB and their downstream effectors were determined in the cerebral cortex. Microgliosis was determined using CD11 immunohistochemistry.Results:Recurrent hyperglycemia increased PARP-1 expression confined to the nucleus and without causing PARP-1 overactivation and cell death. NF-κB mRNA expression was increased, while IκB mRNA expression was decreased. inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) mRNA expressions were decreased. Hyperglycemia significantly increased the number of microglia.Conclusion:Recurrent hyperglycemia in neonatal rats is associated with upregulation of PARP-1 and NF-κB expression and subsequent microgliosis but not neuronal cell death in the cerebral cortex.