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Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 23;154(2):556-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.03.090. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

Apocynin improves outcome in experimental stroke with a narrow dose range.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.


Inflammation following ischemic stroke is known to contribute to injury. NADPH oxidase (NOX) is a major enzyme system originally studied in immune cells that leads to superoxide (O.*) generation. Apocynin is a NOX inhibitor that has been studied as a potential treatment in experimental stroke. Here we explored the effect of different doses of apocynin in a mouse model of 2 h transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) followed by 22 h reperfusion. Apocynin, given i.v. at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg 30 min before reperfusion, improved neurological function (P<0.01), reduced infarct volume (P<0.05), and reduced the incidence of cerebral hemorrhage (P<0.05), but not at higher doses of 3.75 and 5 mg/kg, where it actually increased brain hemorrhage. Apocynin also tended to reduce mortality at the lower dose, but not at higher doses. Using hydroethine fluorescence to delineate O.* in the brain, neurons and some microglia/macrophages, but not vascular endothelial cells were found to contain O.*. Apocynin at protective doses markedly prevented ischemia-induced increases in O.*. Our data suggested that apocynin can protect against experimental stroke, but with a narrow therapeutic window.

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