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Life Sci. 2002 Dec 20;72(4-5):601-7.

Neuroprotective effect and brain receptor binding of taltirelin, a novel thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) analogue, in transient forebrain ischemia of C57BL/6J mice.

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Department of Biopharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, 52-1 Yada, Shizuoka, Shizuoka,422-8526, Japan.


Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and some of its stable analogues have been shown to improve neurologic dysfunctions such as brain trauma in both animals and humans. Our previous study revealed that taltirelin, a novel orally active TRH analogue, binds to rat brain TRH receptors in vivo. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether taltirelin has neuroprotective effects in transient brain ischemia of C57BL/6J mice induced by bilateral carotid artery occlusion (2VO). Neuronal cell density in the hippocampal CA1 region of C57BL/6J mice was significantly (39.9%) decreased 1 week after 2VO-reperfusion, compared to the case of the sham group, and this reduction of hippocampal neuronal density was significantly suppressed by an intravenous (i.v.) injection of taltirelin (0.3 mg/kg). The i.v. injection of taltirelin at this dosage produced a significant increase in the dissociation constant (Kd) of specific [3H]MeTRH binding in sham and 2VO-reperfusion groups (33.6 and 51.4%, respectively) compared with the vehicle-treated group. These results indicate that the intravenously injected taltirelin bound to TRH receptors in the ischemic brain. There was little difference in the brain-to-plasma concentration ratio (Kp) of [14C]sucrose between the sham and 2VO groups of C57BL/6J mice, indicating that the tight junction of the blood-brain barrier may be intact in the ischemic brain. In conclusion, the study has shown that taltirelin may have a significant neuroprotective effect on the ischemic brain.

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