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J Neurosci. 2008 Nov 26;28(48):12788-97. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3485-08.2008.

Activated protein C promotes neovascularization and neurogenesis in postischemic brain via protease-activated receptor 1.

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Center for Neurodegenerative and Vascular Brain Disorders, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Activated protein C (APC) is a serine protease with anticoagulant and direct cytoprotective activities. Early postischemic APC application activates the cellular protein C pathway in brain endothelium and neurons, which is neuroprotective. Whether late APC administration after a transient ischemic attack is neuroprotective and whether APC influences brain repair is not known. Here, we determined safety and efficacy of late APC and tissue-plasminogen activator (tPA) administrations in a mouse model of transient brain ischemia. tPA given at 6 h after onset of ischemia killed all mice within 2 d, whereas APC given at 6 or 24 h after ischemia onset improved significantly functional outcome and reduced spread of the ischemic lesion. At 7 d postischemia, APC multiple dosing (0.8 mg/kg, i.p.) at 6-72 or 72-144 h enhanced comparably cerebral perfusion in the ischemic border by approximately 40% as shown by in vivo lectin-FITC angiography, blocked blood-brain barrier leakage of serum proteins, and increased the number of endothelial replicating cells by 4.5- to 4.7-fold. APC multidosing at 6-72 h or 72-144 h increased proliferation of neuronal progenitor cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) by 40-50% and migration of newly formed neuroblasts from the SVZ toward the ischemic border by approximately twofold. The effects of APC on neovascularization and neurogenesis were mediated by protease-activated receptor 1 and were independent of the reduction by APC of infarction volume. Our data show that delayed APC administration is neuroprotective and mediates brain repair (i.e., neovascularization and neurogenesis), suggesting a significant extension of the therapeutic window for APC intervention in postischemic brain.

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