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Brain Res. 2007 Dec 12;1184:277-83. Epub 2007 Sep 22.

Neuroprotection by neuregulin-1 in a rat model of permanent focal cerebral ischemia.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Neuroscience Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA.

Erratum in

  • Brain Res. 2008 Oct 10;1229:249.


Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) is a growth factor with potent neuroprotective capacity in ischemic stroke. We recently showed that NRG-1 reduced neuronal death following transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) by up to 90% with an extended therapeutic window. Here, we examined the neuroprotective potential of NRG-1 using a permanent MCAO ischemia (pMCAO) rat model. NRG-1 reduced infarction in pMCAO by 50% when administered prior to ischemia. We previously demonstrated using gene expression profiling that pMCAO was associated with an exaggerated excitotoxicity response compared to tMCAO. Therefore, we examined whether co-treatment with an inhibitor of excitotoxicity would augment the effect of NRG-1 following pMCAO. Both NRG-1 and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist MK-801 similarly reduced infarct size following pMCAO. However, combination treatment with both NRG-1 and MK-801 resulted in greater neuroprotection than either compound alone, including a 75% reduction in cortical infarction compared to control. Consistent with these findings, NRG-1 reduced neuronal death using an in vitro ischemia model and this effect was augmented by MK-801. These results demonstrate the efficacy of NRG-1 in pMCAO rat focal ischemia model. Our findings further indicate the potential clinically relevance of NRG-1 alone or as a combination strategy for treating ischemic stroke.

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