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Brain Res. 2009 Feb 9;1253:198-209. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.059. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Idazoxan attenuates spinal cord injury by enhanced astrocytic activation and reduced microglial activation in rat experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, the First Affiliated Hospital and Research Institute of Experimental Neurobiology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou City, Zhejiang, PR China.


Idazoxan, an imidazoline 2 receptor (I(2)R) ligand, has been shown to protect against brain injury in several animal models of neurological disorders. In the present study we investigated the effect of idazoxan on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. EAE was induced by immunizing Wistar rats with guinea pig spinal cord homogenates emulsified in CFA, followed by daily treatment of idazoxan (0, 0.5 mg/kg, 1.5 mg/kg, 4.5 mg/kg, i.p, bid) for 10 days. The results showed that the treatment of idazoxan (1.5 mg/kg and 4.5 mg/kg) significantly decreased the incidence and alleviated inflammatory cell infiltration and demyelination in spinal cords and cerebral cortex. Furthermore, the protective effect of idazoxan on EAE was associated with the enhanced astrocytic activation and attenuated microglial activation and with the subsequent down-regulated expression of proinflammatory cytokines IL-12p40 and IFN-gamma and up-regulated expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-beta(1). Thus, the daily treatment of the I(2)R ligand idazoxan for 10 days attenuates EAE pathology by differential modulation of astrocytic and microglial activations, raising a possibility that the I(2)R ligand may be a novel strategy for treating EAE.

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