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Neuroscience. 2007 Jan 5;144(1):217-22. Epub 2006 Oct 2.

Bilobalide prevents ischemia-induced edema formation in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, 1300 Coulter Drive, Amarillo, TX 79106, USA.


EGb761, a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba, has neuroprotective properties in animal models of ischemia, an activity that is partially attributed to its constituent, bilobalide. EGb761 has also been reported to inhibit edema formation induced by toxins such as triethyltin. The goal of this study was to test the activity of pure bilobalide to prevent edema formation in models of ischemia. Oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) in rat hippocampal slices served as a model of in vitro-ischemia. OGD caused cellular edema formation as indicated by an increase of slice water contents in 30 min. Bilobalide (1-10 microM) reduced slice water contents in ischemic slices in a concentration-dependent manner. As a model of in vivo-ischemia, we performed middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in mice. Permanent MCAO caused cell death and swelling of the ischemic hemisphere within 24 h. Pretreatment of the mice with bilobalide (10 mg/kg i.p.) reduced infarct area by 43% (as judged by 2,3,5-triphenyl-tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining) and edema formation by 70% (as judged by hemispheric enlargement). In parallel experiments, pretreatment with bilobalide also reduced forebrain water contents in the ischemic hemisphere by 57%. As an alternative model of brain edema formation, we used water intoxication to increase brain water content; bilobalide, was, however, inactive in this model. We conclude that bilobalide strongly and specifically attenuates edema formation in models of brain ischemia in vitro and in vivo. Bilobalide may be therapeutically effective in brain edema which occurs secondarily to large hemispheric stroke and traumatic brain injury in humans.

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