Efficacy and mechanism of action of a calcium channel blocker after global cerebral ischemia in rats.
Dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers such as nicardipine are under evaluation for treating acute cerebral ischemia because they may increase cerebral blood flow by causing vasodilation and because they may be cytoprotective in part by limiting production of arachidonic acid metabolites. We demonstrated in a previous study that nicardipine improves postischemic neuronal function, as measured by somatosensory evoked potentials, without reducing the extent of light-microscopic CA-1 hippocampal histologic damage. To characterize further the effect of nicardipine on global ischemic injury, we administered the drug beginning 24 hours before 30 minutes of four-vessel ischemia in Wistar rats. We then measured hippocampal ATP, phosphocreatine, and glucose contents immediately and 2 hours after ischemia, and measured learning ability (working and reference errors) on an eight-arm radial maze beginning 30 days after ischemia. To gain insight into the possible mechanism of action, we measured production of arachidonic acid metabolites (eicosanoids: TXB2 and 6-keto-PGF1 alpha) and hemispheric and hippocampal cerebral blood flow by the [14C]butanol indicator fractionation technique immediately and 2 hours after ischemia. Nicardipine was associated with fewer working errors (p less than 0.02) but no difference in reference errors. The drug had no effect on energy metabolites, cerebral blood flow, or eicosanoids immediately after ischemia, but ATP, phosphocreatine, and cerebral blood flow all returned to normal levels significantly more rapidly during reperfusion in treated rats. Nicardipine improves behavioral, electrophysiologic, and mitochondrial function after ischemia without preventing cellular damage and improves postischemic reperfusion. The drug's positive effect appears to occur during reperfusion.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association