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Neurology. 1991 Jan;41(1):88-94.

Combined therapy with MK-801 and nimodipine for protection of ischemic brain damage.

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Cerebrovascular Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104.


Calcium ion can enter ischemic neurons through both receptor-operated and voltage-sensitive Ca2+ channels. To attenuate this Ca2+ entry and Ca2(+)-induced neuronal injury, we tried a combined treatment with the noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, MK-801, and the dihydropyridine calcium antagonist, nimodipine, in a cat middle cerebral artery occlusion (1 hour) and reperfusion (3 hours) model. We measured changes in cytosolic free calcium, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide/reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide redox state, and blood flow in the cat cortex using a newly developed fluorometric technique with indo-1, a fluorescent intracellular Ca2+ indicator. The combined treatment, starting 5 minutes into ischemia, was effective in reducing both Ca2+ entry and histologic damage and in enhancing recovery of the electroencephalogram following reperfusion. MK-801 alone was also effective, but to a lesser extent. These data suggest that the dual blockade of Ca2+ entry using MK-801 and nimodipine may be a useful tool for protection against ischemic brain damage.

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