Global cerebral ischemia leads to selective neuronal damage in the CA1 sector of the hippocampus and in the dorsolateral striatum. In addition, it results in deficits in spatial learning and memory as shown by an increase in escape latency and swim distance during the escape trials and a reduction of time spent in the quadrant of the former platform position during the probe trial of the water maze. Flupirtine is a non-opioid, centrally acting analgesic which has been shown to be neuroprotective against N -methyl- d -aspartate (NMDA)-mediated toxicity in vitro. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the potential protective effect of flupirtine in vivo with both behavioural and histological measures of global cerebral ischemia. Global ischemia was induced by four-vessel-occlusion (4VO) for 20 min in rats. Flupirtine was administered at a dose of 5 mg/kg i.p. either 20 min before and 50 min after occlusion (pre-treatment) or directly and 70 min after occlusion (post-treatment). 1 week after surgery, spatial learning and memory was tested in the Morris water maze. Pre-treatment with flupirtine reduced the increase in escape latency and in swim distance induced by 4VO. It also diminished the deficit in spatial memory as revealed by an increase in time spent in the quadrant of the former platform position during the probe trial which was reduced by 4VO. Post-treatment with flupirtine had no effect on the deficits in spatial learning and memory induced by 4VO. Neuronal damage in the CA1 sector of the hippocampus and in the striatum produced by 4VO was significantly attenuated with pre-treatment of flupirtine whereas post-treatment did not affect this neuronal damage. The present data demonstrate that pre-treatment with flupirtine exerts a protective effect on hippocampal and striatal neuronal damage and on deficits in spatial learning induced by 4VO. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Apr 18, 1997
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