, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 146-150
Date: 16 Oct 2004

Dexamethasone decreases neurological sequelae and caspase activity

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the use of dexamethasone in a model of meningitis-induced brain injury. Changes in neurobehavioral performance were the primary outcome variables. Changes in caspase activation and markers of neuronal injury were the secondary outcome variables.

Design

Randomized, prospective animal study.

Setting

University research laboratory.

Subjects

Male Wistar rats.

Interventions

Animals underwent a basilar cistern injection of either placebo or a suspension of Group B Streptococcus. Sixteen hours after inoculation, animals were randomized and received either dexamethasone or placebo in addition to antibiotics. Neurobehavioral performance and biological markers of brain injury were assessed at 3 days and 9 days after randomization. In a second experiment, caspase 1 and 3 were evaluated at 6 h, 24 h, and 72 h after dexamethasone administration.

Measurements and main results

Neurobehavioral performance at 3 days and 9 days was significantly improved in the dexamethasone group. Serum C-tau and cerebral edema were decreased after 3 days of dexamethasone treatment. Dexamethasone decreased Caspase 3 activation in meningitic animals.

Conclusion

These findings demonstrate that dexamethasone decreases acute brain injury in a rat model of bacterial meningitis as measured by preservation of neurobehavioral performance.