Closure of the blood-brain barrier by matrix metalloproteinase inhibition reduces rtPA-mediated mortality in cerebral ischemia with delayed reperfusion

Thomas Pfefferkorn, Gary A Rosenberg
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2003, 34 (8): 2025-30

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) can be beneficial in ischemic stroke despite an increased risk of hemorrhage and potential neurotoxic effects. We hypothesized that rtPA-mediated adverse effects depend on the timing of reperfusion and injury to the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

METHODS: Male Wistar rats had middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) by intraluminal thread placement. Intervals of ischemia/reperfusion, respectively, in hours were 0/18, 1.5/16.5, 3/15, 6/12, 18/0, and 6/1. Animals received either rtPA or saline for 1 hour at the time of reperfusion or, for the 18/0 trial, starting 1 hour after MCAO. Outcome parameters were mortality, matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 (MMP-2 and -9) concentrations, tissue hemoglobin, and brain water content. We analyzed the permeability of the BBB by using the brain 14C[sucrose] uptake method. Effects of the MMP inhibitor BB-94 on the BBB without rtPA treatment and on mortality with rtPA were tested in animals with 6/1 and 6/12, respectively.

RESULTS: In delayed reperfusion (6/12), rtPA increased mortality from 17% to 83% (P<0.01) without significantly affecting other outcome parameters. In 6/1, sucrose uptake in the ischemic hemisphere was markedly increased (8.80+/-1.14% vs 2.15+/-0.26%; P<0.01). This uptake was reduced by treatment with BB-94 (3.95+/-1.48%, P<0.01). Furthermore, BB-94 reduced rtPA-mediated mortality in 6/12 to 33% (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: rtPA-mediated mortality in delayed reperfusion is associated with early opening of the BBB. Closure of the BBB with BB-94 given before rtPA treatment reduced mortality, suggesting that treatment with MMP inhibitors might reduce the risk associated with thrombolysis.

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