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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1997 Mar;17(3):257-64.

Increased hypoxic tolerance by chemical inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation: "chemical preconditioning".

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


A short ischemic episode preceding sustained ischemia is known to increase tolerance against ischemic cell death. We report early-onset long-lasting neuroprotection against in vitro hypoxia by preceding selective chemical inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation: "chemical preconditioning." The amplitude of CA1 population spikes (psap) in hippocampal slices prepared from control animals (control slices) was 31 +/- 27% (mean +/- SD) upon 45-min recovery from 15-min in vitro hypoxia. In slices prepared from animals treated in vivo with 20 mg/kg 3-nitropropionate (3-np) 1-24 h prior to slice preparation (preconditioned slices), psap improved to 90 +/- 15% (p < 0.01). Posthypoxic oxygen free radicals were reduced to 65 +/- 10% (mean +/- SD) of control in preconditioned slices (p < 0.05). Posthypoxic neuronal density improved from 52 +/- 15% (mean +/- SD) in control slices to 97 +/- 23% in preconditioned slices (p < 0.001). Glibenclamide, an antagonist at KATP-channels, partly reversed increased hypoxic tolerance. We conclude that chemical preconditioning induces early-onset long-lasting tolerance against in vitro hypoxia. Ultimately, this strategy may be applicable as a neuroprotective strategy in humans.

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