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Neurosci Lett. 1998 May 8;247(1):17-20.

Postischemic treatment with calpain inhibitor MDL 28170 ameliorates brain damage in a gerbil model of global ischemia.

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  • 1Saskatchewan Stroke Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


The newly-developed calpain inhibitor, MDL 28170 penetrates the blood-brain barrier and inhibits brain cysteine protease activity after systemic administration. This experiment was initiated to determine if the calpain inhibitor, MDL 28170 could, by these actions, reduce neuronal damage in an animal model of global cerebral ischemia in the gerbil. The calpain inhibitor, MDL 28170 (50 mg/kg), was initiated at 0.5 and 3 h of recirculation following 5min of global ischemia. Animals subjected to ischemia but without treatment or with vehicle treatment served as controls. Evaluation by light microscopy was carried out on paraffin-embedded brain sections of gerbils which were sacrificed 7 days post-operatively. The results show that the calpain inhibitor, MDL 28170, protects against cortical neuronal damage even if the treatment is delayed until 3 h after reperfusion. However, the neuroprotective effect of this agent is less pronounced in the hippocampal CA1 sector. The results suggest that calpain-mediated proteolysis plays an important role in neuronal death due to ischemia. However, additional mechanisms by which an increased intracellular calcium concentration leads to neuronal death may exist.

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