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Neurosci Lett. 1998 Apr 17;246(1):41-4.

MK 801 and dexamethasone reduce both tumor necrosis factor levels and infarct volume after focal cerebral ischemia in the rat brain.

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Schering-Plough Research Institute, Milan, Italy.


Focal cerebral ischemia in rats produces elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha in the ischemic brain region. To better understand the modulation of TNF during brain ischemia processes we carried out studies in a model of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in the rat. In non-treated ischemic animals, the maximum expression of TNF was observed at 12 h (246.1+/-33 U/g) in the ischemic cortex and declined reaching near zero levels 24 h after MCAo. Given 10 min after MCAo, MK 801 (3 mg/kg, i.p.), a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, exerted significant neuroprotection as measured by 47% reduction of total volume of infarction (P < 0.01 vs. ischemic-control). At the high dose of 3 mg/kg i.p., dexamethasone (DEX), which is known to reduce brain edema, decreased infarct size by 50% (P < 0.01 vs. ischemic-control). Both MK 801 and DEX reduced TNF production in the ipsilateral cortex of ischemic animals by 61 and 73%, respectively (P < 0.01 vs. ischemic-control). The data indicate that TNF levels increase after brain infarction, whereas they are reduced by neuroprotective agents, such as MK 801 and DEX, which act on different cellular levels.

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