Date: 24 May 2011

Capsaicin Pre-treatment Provides Neurovascular Protection Against Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury in Rats

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Capsaicin, a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonist, has recently been shown to provide neuroprotection against brain injury in experimental adult models of cerebral ischemia. Accordingly, in this study, we investigated the way in which capsaicin-mediated TRPV1 modulation could attenuate damage in an experimental hypoxic-ischemic (HI) neonatal brain injury model. The Rice-Vannucci method was used in 10-day-old rat pups by performing unilateral carotid artery ligation followed by 2 h of hypoxia (8% O2 at 37°C). Capsaicin was administered intraperitoneally (0.2 mg/kg or 2.0 mg/kg) at 3 h pre-HI or 1 h post-HI. Post assessment included measurement of infarction volume at 24 and 72 h in addition to an assessment of the vascular dynamics of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) at 6 h post-HI. The results indicated that pre-treatment with capsaicin reduced infarction volume significantly with either low-dose or high-dose treatment. Pre-treatment also improved myogenic tone and decreased apoptotic changes in the distal MCA. We concluded that capsaicin pre-treatment may provide neurovascular protection against neonatal HI.