Abstract WP118: The Flavanol (-)-Epicatechin Improves Functional Recovery In Mice Subjected To Experimental Stroke
Background: Epidemiological studies indicate that flavanol consumption reduces the propensity to develop cerebrovascular disease. Available data suggest actions on multiple pro-inflammatory pathways, yet it remains unclear which pathways mediate functional recovery after stroke. Our goal is to begin identifying the mechanisms by which the flavanol (-)-epicatechin (EC) improves anatomical and functional outcomes. Based upon data from initial dose-response experiments, ongoing studies are investigating hypothesized protective pathways involving matrix metalloproteinase-mediated blood brain barrier protection and Nrf2 transcriptional activation.
Methods: Male, 8-10wk old C57BL/6 mice were pretreated with EC 90m prior to permanent distal middle cerebral artery occlusion. Vehicle or EC was administered by oral gavage to mimic dietary consumption. Mice were evaluated 1, 4 and 7d post-stroke for performance on various sensorimotor tasks prior to histological assessments.
Results: Initial experiments demonstrated that mice treated with 15mg/kg EC showed reduced latency to remove adhesive tape at 1d compared to vehicle controls (n=12, p<0.01). Similarly, immunoreactivity for the microglia/macrophage marker Iba1 was increased in the ipsilateral hemispheres of mice 7d after treatment with vehicle (p<0.01), whereas pretreatment with 15mg/kg blocked this effect (n=4). Mice treated with 15mg/kg also showed a trend toward reduced infarct volume relative to vehicle controls (n=5-9 per group). In subsequent reduced dosing studies, vehicle-treated mice again showed deficiencies in removing adhesive tape at 1d (n=8, p<0.01). Remarkably, mice treated with 15, 10 or 5mg/kg EC showed no deficits. Similarly, vehicle control mice showed grip strength impairments up to 7d (n=8, p<0.05) that were absent in all groups of EC-treated mice.
Conclusions: Preventative administration of EC promotes functional recovery in mice subjected to experimental stroke. Investigations are underway to determine the pathways mediated by EC following administration at these therapeutic doses. Together, these data will provide insights into the potential for (-)-epicatechin as a clinical therapeutic.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.