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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2000 Jul;294(1):378-86.

Neuroprotective efficacy and therapeutic window of the high-affinity N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist conantokin-G: in vitro (primary cerebellar neurons) and in vivo (rat model of transient focal brain ischemia) studies.

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  • 1Department of Neuropharmacology and Molecular Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA.


Conantokin-G (Con-G), a 17-amino-acid peptide derived from marine snails and a potent N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, was evaluated for its neuroprotective properties in vitro and in vivo. In primary cerebellar neurons, Con-G was shown to decrease excitotoxic calcium responses to NMDA and to exhibit differential neuroprotection potencies against hypoxia/hypoglycemia-, NMDA-, glutamate-, or veratridine-induced injury. Using the intraluminal filament method of middle cerebral artery occlusion as an in vivo rat model of transient focal brain ischemia, the neuroprotective dose-response effect of Con-G administration beginning 30 min postocclusion was evaluated after 2 h of ischemia and 22 h of reperfusion. In the core region of injury, an 89% reduction in brain infarction was measured with significant neurological and electroencephalographic recovery at the maximal dose tested (2 nmol), although mild sedation was noted. Lower doses of Con-G (0.001-0.5 nmol) were significantly neuroprotective without causing sedation. Postinjury time course experiments demonstrated a therapeutic window out to at least 4 to 8 h from the start of the injury, providing a 47% reduction in core injury. The neuroprotective effect of Con-G (0. 5 nmol) was also evaluated after 72 h of injury, where a 54% reduction in core brain infarction was measured. Critically, in both recovery models (i.e., 24 and 72 h), the reduction in brain infarction was associated with significant improvements in neurological and electroencephalographic recovery. These data provide evidence for the potent and highly efficacious effect of Con-G as a neuroprotective agent, with an excellent therapeutic window for the potential intervention against ischemic/excitotoxic brain injury.

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