Allopurinol and dimethylthiourea reduce brain infarction following middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats.
Free radicals have been shown to play an important role in ischemia-reperfusion injury in several organ systems; however, the role of free radicals in central nervous system ischemia has been less well studied. Many potential free radical-generating systems exist. The primary products of these reactions, superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, may combine to produce hydroxyl radicals. Of the many potential sources of free radical generation, the enzyme xanthine oxidase has been shown to be important in ischemia in noncerebral tissue. We investigated the effect of the hydroxyl radical scavenger dimethylthiourea and the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol on infarct volume in a model of continuous partial ischemia. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with dimethylthiourea or allopurinol before middle cerebral artery occlusion. Infarct volume was measured by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining of brains removed 3 or 24 hours after occlusion. Stroke volume was reduced by 30% after dimethylthiourea treatment and by 32-35% after allopurinol treatment. At 24 hours after stroke, cortical tissue was more effectively protected than caudate tissue with both agents. Pretreatment with dimethylthiourea and allopurinol also significantly reduced cerebral edema formation and improved blood-brain barrier function as measured by fluorescein uptake. Our results imply that hydroxyl radicals are important in tissue injury secondary to partial cerebral ischemia and that xanthine oxidase may be the primary source of these radicals.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association