Cerebralcare Granule® attenuates blood-brain barrier disruption after middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats

Ping Huang, Chang-Man Zhou, Qin-Hu, Yu-Ying Liu, Bai-He Hu, Xin Chang, Xin-Rong Zhao, Xiang-Shun Xu, Quan Li, Xiao-Hong Wei, Xiao-Wei Mao, Chuan-She Wang, Jing-Yu Fan, Jing-Yan Han
Experimental Neurology 2012, 237 (2): 453-63
Disruption of blood-brain barrier (BBB) and subsequent edema are major contributors to the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke, for which the current clinical therapy remains unsatisfied. Cerebralcare Granule® (CG) is a compound Chinese medicine widely used in China for treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. CG has been demonstrated efficacy in attenuating the cerebral microcirculatory disturbance and hippocampal neuron injury following global cerebral ischemia. However, the effects of CG on BBB disruption following cerebral ischemia have not been investigated. In this study, we examined the therapeutic effect of CG on the BBB disruption in a focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) rat model. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (250 to 300 g) were subjected to 1h middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). CG (0.4 g/kg or 0.8 g/kg) was administrated orally 3h after reperfusion for the first time and then once daily up to 6 days. The results showed that Evans blue extravasation, brain water content, albumin leakage, infarction volume and neurological deficits increased in MCAO model rats, and were attenuated significantly by CG treatment. T2-weighted MRI and electron microscopy further confirmed the brain edema reduction in CG-treated rats. Treatment with CG improved cerebral blood flow (CBF). Western blot analysis and confocal microscopy showed that the tight junction proteins claudin-5, JAM-1, occludin and zonula occluden-1 between endothelial cells were significantly degradated, but the protein expression of caveolin-1, the principal marker of caveolae in endothelial cells, increased after ischemia, all of which were alleviated by CG treatment. In conclusion, the post-treatment with CG significantly reduced BBB permeability and brain edema, which were correlated with preventing the degradation of the tight junction proteins and inhibiting the expression of caveolin-1 in the endothelial cells. These findings provide a novel approach to the treatment of ischemic stroke.

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