Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 146–150 | Cite as

Dexamethasone decreases neurological sequelae and caspase activity

  • Jose Irazuzta
  • Robert K. Pretzlaff
  • Gabrielle deCourten-Myers
  • Frank Zemlan
  • Basilia Zingarelli
Brief Report



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.


Randomized, prospective animal study.


University research laboratory.


Male Wistar rats.


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.


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


Meningitis Brain injury Caspase Neurobehavioral performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose Irazuzta
    • 1
  • Robert K. Pretzlaff
    • 2
  • Gabrielle deCourten-Myers
    • 3
  • Frank Zemlan
    • 4
  • Basilia Zingarelli
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Critical Care MedicineThe Floating Hospital for ChildrenBoston 02111USA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsSection of Critical Care MedicineSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Professor of NeuropathologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.Division of Critical Care MedicineChildren’s Hospital Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital Research FoundationCincinnatiUSA

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