Cilostazol, not aspirin, reduces ischemic brain injury via endothelial protection in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Naoki Oyama, Yoshiki Yagita, Miki Kawamura, Yukio Sugiyama, Yasukazu Terasaki, Emi Omura-Matsuoka, Tsutomu Sasaki, Kazuo Kitagawa
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2011, 42 (9): 2571-7

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: It is well-established that hypertension leads to endothelial dysfunction in the cerebral artery. Recently, cilostazol has been used for the secondary prevention of ischemic stroke. Among antiplatelet drugs, phosphodiesterase inhibitors including cilostazol have been shown to have protective effects on endothelial cells. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effects of cilostazol and aspirin on endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation in the cerebral cortex, endothelial function, and infarct size after brain ischemia in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).

METHODS: Five-week-old male SHR received a 5-week regimen of chow containing 0.1% aspirin, 0.1% cilostazol, 0.3% cilostazol, or the vehicle control. The levels of total and Ser(1177)-phosphorylated eNOS protein in the cerebral cortex were evaluated by Western blot. To assess the contribution of eNOS in maintaining cerebral blood flow, we monitored cerebral blood flow by laser-Doppler flowmetry after L-N(5)-(1-iminoethyl)ornithine infusion. Additionally, we evaluated residual microperfusion using fluorescence-labeled serum protein and infarct size after transient focal brain ischemia.

RESULTS: In SHR, the blood pressure and heart rate were similar among the groups. Cilostazol-treated SHR had a significantly higher ratio of phospho-eNOS/total eNOS protein than vehicle-treated and aspirin-treated SHR. Treating with cilostazol, but not aspirin, significantly improved cerebral blood flow response to L-N(5)-(1-iminoethyl)ornithine. Cilostazol also increased residual perfusion of the microcirculation and reduced brain damage after ischemia compared to vehicle control and aspirin.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that cilostazol, but not aspirin, can attenuate ischemic brain injury by maintaining endothelial function in the cerebral cortex of SHR.

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