Continuous oral administration of atorvastatin ameliorates brain damage after transient focal ischemia in rats

Tomonari Saito, Chikako Nito, Masayuki Ueda, Toshiki Inaba, Fumio Kamiya, Kanako Muraga, Ken-Ichiro Katsura, Yasuo Katayama
Life Sciences 2014 January 17, 94 (2): 106-14

AIMS: Pre-treatment with statins is known to ameliorate ischemic brain damage after experimental stroke, and is independent of cholesterol levels. We undertook pre- vs post-ischemic treatment with atorvastatin after focal cerebral ischemia in rats.

MAIN METHODS: Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent transient 90-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Atorvastatin (20mg/kg/day) or vehicle was administered orally. Rats were divided into vehicle-treated, atorvastatin pre-treatment, atorvastatin post-treatment, and atorvastatin continuous-treatment groups. In the pre-treatment, rats were given atorvastatin or vehicle for 7 days before MCAO. In the post-treatment, rats received atorvastatin or vehicle for 7 days after MCAO. Measurement of infarct volume, as well as neurological and immunohistochemical assessments, were done 24h and 7 days after reperfusion.

KEY FINDINGS: Each atorvastatin-treated group demonstrated significant reductions in infarct and edema volumes compared with the vehicle-treated group 24h after reperfusion. Seven days after reperfusion, infarct volumes in the post-treatment group and continuous-treatment group (but not the pre-treatment group) were significantly smaller than in the vehicle-treated group. Only the continuous-treatment group had significantly improved neurological scores 7 days after reperfusion compared with the vehicle group. Post-treatment and continuous-treatment groups had significantly decreased lipid peroxidation, oxidative DNA damage, microglial activation, expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and neuronal damage in the cortical ischemic boundary area after 7 days of reperfusion.

SIGNIFICANCE: These results suggest that continuous oral administration (avoiding withdrawal) with statins after stroke may reduce the extent of post-ischemic brain damage and improve neurological outcome by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.

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