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Neurosci Lett. 2011 Mar 29;492(1):23-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.01.045. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Pharmacologic amelioration of severe hypoglycemia-induced neuronal damage.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research, Department of Medicine,Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Hypoglycemia is a common complication for insulin treated people with diabetes. Severe hypoglycemia, which occurs in the setting of excess or ill-timed insulin administration, has been shown to cause brain damage. Previous pre-clinical studies have shown that memantine (an N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist) and erythropoietin can be neuroprotective in other models of brain injury. We hypothesized that these agents might also be neuroprotective in response to severe hypoglycemia-induced brain damage. To test this hypothesis, 9-week old, awake, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent hyperinsulinemic (0.2 U kg(-1)min(-1)) hypoglycemic clamps to induce severe hypoglycemia (blood glucose 10-15 mg/dl for 90 min). Animals were randomized into control (vehicle) or pharmacological treatments (memantine or erythropoietin). One week after severe hypoglycemia, neuronal damage was assessed by Fluoro-Jade B and hematoxylin and eosin staining of brain sections. Treatment with both memantine and erythropoietin significantly decreased severe hypoglycemia-induced neuronal damage in the cortex by 35% and 39%, respectively (both p<0.05 vs. controls). These findings demonstrate that memantine and erythropoietin provide a protective effect against severe hypoglycemia-induced neuronal damage.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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