Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Stroke. 2003 Feb;34(2):537-43.

Vampire bat salivary plasminogen activator (desmoteplase): a unique fibrinolytic enzyme that does not promote neurodegeneration.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Monash University, Box Hill Hospital, Victoria, Australia.



Tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) promotes excitotoxic and ischemic injury within the brain. These findings have implications for the use of tPA in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. The plasminogen activator from vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) saliva (D rotundus salivary plasminogen activator [DSPA]; desmoteplase) is an effective plasminogen activator but, in contrast to tPA, is nearly inactive in the absence of a fibrin cofactor. The purpose of this study was to compare the ability of DSPA and tPA to promote kainate- and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced neurodegeneration in tPA-/- mice and wild-type mice, respectively.


tPA-/- mice were infused intracerebrally with either tPA or DSPA. The degree of neuronal survival after hippocampal injection of kainate was assessed histochemically. Wild-type mice were used to assess the extent of neuronal damage after intrastriatal injection of NMDA in the presence of tPA or DSPA. Immunohistochemistry and fibrin zymography were used to evaluate DSPA and tPA antigen or activity.


Infusion of tPA into tPA-/- mice restored sensitivity to kainate-mediated neurotoxicity and activation of microglia. DSPA was incapable of conferring sensitivity to kainate treatment, even when infused at 10-fold higher molar concentration than tPA. The presence of tPA also increased the lesion volume induced by NMDA injection into the striatum of wild-type mice, whereas DSPA had no effect.


DSPA does not promote kainate- or NMDA-mediated neurotoxicity in vivo. These results provide significant impetus to evaluate DSPA in patients with ischemic stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center