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Pediatr Res. 2003 Oct;54(4):516-22. Epub 2003 Jun 18.

Effects of allopurinol and deferoxamine on reperfusion injury of the brain in newborn piglets after neonatal hypoxia-ischemia.

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Department of Neonatology, Image Sciences Institute, University Medical Center, 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The hypothesis was tested that treatment with allopurinol, a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, or deferoxamine, a chelator of nonprotein-bound iron, preserved cerebral energy metabolism, attenuated development of edema, and improved histologic outcome in the newborn piglet at 24 h after hypoxia-ischemia. Thirty-two newborn piglets were subjected to 1 h of hypoxia-ischemia by occluding both carotid arteries and reducing the fraction of inspired oxygen; five newborn piglets served as sham-operated controls. The depth of hypoxia-ischemia was controlled by phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Upon reperfusion and reoxygenation, piglets received vehicle (n= 12), allopurinol (30 mg/kg/d, n = 10), or deferoxamine (12.5 mg/kg/d, n = 10). The cerebral energy status was determined with phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The presence of vasogenic edema was assessed by T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Brain cell injury was assessed with caspase-3 activity, histology, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin in situ nick end (TUNEL)-labeling. At 24 h after hypoxia-ischemia, the phosphocreatine/inorganic phosphate ratios were significantly decreased in vehicle-treated, but not in allopurinol- or deferoxamine-treated piglets. Water T2 values were significantly increased at 24 h after hypoxia-ischemia in cerebral cortex, thalamus, and striatum of vehicle-treated piglets, but not in allopurinol- and deferoxamine-treated piglets. No differences in caspase-3 activity, histologic outcome, or TUNEL-labeling were demonstrated between the three treatment groups. We suggest that allopurinol and deferoxamine may have an additional value in the treatment of perinatal hypoxia-ischemia with other neuroprotective agents or in combination with hypothermia.

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