Flunarizine limits hypoxia-ischemia induced morphologic injury in immature rat brain.
We examined the impact of pre-treatment with the calcium antagonist flunarizine on the development of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in the immature rat. Unilateral carotid artery ligation and subsequent exposure to 2 hours of 8% oxygen in 7-day-old rats was used as a model for perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This procedure leads to atrophy in the cerebral hemisphere ipsilateral to carotid occlusion, with prominent foci of neuronal infarction in the caudate-putamen (striatum). The morphologic injury develops after 1 1/2 hours of hypoxia; and there is an equivalent time threshold for duration of hypoxic exposure needed to acutely stimulate dopamine release in the ipsilateral striatum. Parenteral administration of 30 mg/kg of flunarizine before hypoxic exposure limited both the release of dopamine acutely and the extent of morphologic damage observed two weeks after the insult. Oral administration of 30 mg/kg of flunarizine in a different vehicle prevented morphologic damage but had no effect on stimulated dopamine release. The drug vehicle for the parenteral preparation also prevented tissue injury, but to a lesser degree than flunarizine. However the parenteral vehicle was equipotent with parenteral flunarizine in limiting acute stimulation of dopamine release. The results demonstrate that flunarizine has potent neuroprotective properties against morphologic brain injury from hypoxia-ischemia, acting by a mechanism which is independent of effects on dopamine release.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association