ABSTRACT: Tissue hypoxia may play an important role in the development of ischemic brain damage. In the present study we investigated in a rat model of transient focal brain ischemia the neuroprotective effects of increasing the blood oxygen transport capacity by applying a semifluorinated alkane (SFA)-containing emulsion together with normobaric hyperoxygenation (NBO). The spread of tissue hypoxia was studied using pimonidazole given prior to filament-induced middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO, 2 h). Treatment consisted of intravenous injection of saline or the SFA-containing emulsion (0.5 or 1.0 ml/100g body weight; [SFA(0.5) or SFA(1.0)]) either upon establishing MCAO (early treatment) or after filament removal (delayed treatment). After injection NBO was administered for 8 h (early treatment) or 6 h (delayed treatment). Experiments were terminated 8 or 24 h after MCAO. In serial brain sections tissue hypoxia and irreversible cell damage were quantitatively determined. Furthermore, we studied hypoxia-related gene expression (VEGF, flt-1). Early treatment significantly (p<0.05) reduced the volumes of tissue damage (8 h after MCAO: SFA(1.0), 57±34 mm³; controls, 217±70 mm³; 24 h after MCAO: SFA(1.0), 189±82 mm³; controls, 317±60 mm³) and of P-Add immunoreactivity (8 h after MCAO: SFA(1.0), 261±37 mm³; controls, 339±26 mm³; 24h after MCAO: SFA(1.0), 274±47 mm³; controls, 364±46 mm³). Delayed treatment was comparably successful. The volume of the hypoxic penumbra was not decreased by the treatment. Similarly, VEGF and flt-1 mRNA levels did not differ between the experimental groups. From these data we conclude that increasing the blood oxygen transport capacity in the plasma compartment provides a neuroprotective effect by alleviating the severity of hypoxia to a level sufficient to prevent cells from transition into irreversible damage.
Experimental Neurology 06/2012; 237(1):18-25. · 4.70 Impact Factor