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1.  Argon: Neuroprotection in in vitro models of cerebral ischemia and traumatic brain injury 
Critical Care  2009;13(6):R206.
Introduction
Recently, it has been shown in several experimental settings that the noble gases xenon and helium have neuroprotective properties. In this study we tested the hypothesis that the noble gas argon has a neuroprotective potential as well. Since traumatic brain injury and stroke are widespread and generate an enormous economic and social burden, we investigated the possible neuroprotective effect in in vitro models of traumatic brain injury and cerebral ischemia.
Methods
Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from mice pups were subjected to either oxygen-glucose deprivation or to a focal mechanical trauma and subsequently treated with three different concentrations (25, 50 and 74%) of argon immediately after trauma or with a two-or-three-hour delay. After 72 hours of incubation tissue injury assessment was performed using propidium iodide, a staining agent that becomes fluorescent when it diffuses into damaged cells via disintegrated cell membranes.
Results
We could show argon's neuroprotective effects at different concentrations when applied directly after oxygen-glucose deprivation or trauma. Even three hours after application, argon was still neuroprotective.
Conclusions
Argon showed a neuroprotective effect in both in vitro models of oxygen-glucose deprivation and traumatic brain injury. Our promising results justify further in vivo animal research.
doi:10.1186/cc8214
PMCID: PMC2811924  PMID: 20017934
2.  Propofol: neuroprotection in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury 
Critical Care  2009;13(2):R61.
Introduction
The anaesthetic agent propofol (2,6-diisopropylphenol) has been shown to be an effective neuroprotective agent in different in vitro models of brain injury induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation. We examined its neuroprotective properties in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury.
Methods
In this controlled laboratory study organotypic hippocampal brain-slice cultures were gained from six- to eight-day-old mice pups. After 14 days in culture, hippocampal brain slices were subjected to a focal mechanical trauma and subsequently treated with different molar concentrations of propofol under both normo- and hypothermic conditions. After 72 hours of incubation, tissue injury assessment was performed using propidium iodide (PI), a staining agent that becomes fluorescent only when it enters damaged cells via perforated cell membranes. Inside the cell, PI forms a fluorescent complex with nuclear DNA.
Results
A dose-dependent reduction of both total and secondary tissue injury could be observed in the presence of propofol under both normo- and hypothermic conditions. This effect was further amplified when the slices were incubated at 32°C after trauma.
Conclusions
When used in combination, the dose-dependent neuroprotective effect of propofol is additive to the neuroprotective effect of hypothermia in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury.
doi:10.1186/cc7795
PMCID: PMC2689510  PMID: 19397790
3.  Neuroprotective properties of levosimendan in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:97.
Background
We investigated the neuroprotective properties of levosimendan, a novel inodilator, in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury.
Methods
Organotypic hippocampal brain slices from mouse pups were subjected to a focal mechanical trauma. Slices were treated after the injury with three different concentrations of levosimendan (0.001, 0.01 and 0.1 μM) and compared to vehicle-treated slices. After 72 hrs, the trauma was quantified using propidium iodide to mark the injured cells.
Results
A significant dose-dependent reduction of both total and secondary tissue injury was observed in cells treated with either 0.01 or 0.1 μM levosimendan compared to vehicle-treated slices.
Conclusion
Levosimendan represents a promising new pharmacological tool for neuroprotection after brain injury and warrants further investigation in an in vivo model.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-97
PMCID: PMC2978146  PMID: 20964834
4.  C-Jun NH2-Terminal Kinase Contributes to Dexmedetomidine-Induced Contraction in Isolated Rat Aortic Smooth Muscle 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2011;52(3):420-428.
Purpose
Dexmedetomidine, a full agonist of α2B-adrenoceptors, is used for analgesia and sedation in the intensive care units. Dexmedetomidine produces an initial transient hypertension due to the activation of post-junctional α2B-adrenoceptors on vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The aims of this in vitro study were to identify mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) isoforms that are primarily involved in full, α2B-adrenoceptor agonist, dexmedetomidine-induced contraction of isolated rat aortic SMCs.
Materials and Methods
Rat thoracic aortic rings without endothelium were isolated and suspended for isometric tension recording. Cumulative dexmedetomidine (10-9 to 10-6 M) dose-response curves were generated in the presence or absence of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor PD 98059, p38 MAPK inhibitor SB 203580, c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP 600125, L-type calcium channel blocker (verapamil and nifedipine), and α2-adrenoceptor inhibitor atipamezole. Dexmedetomidine-induced phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK in rat aortic SMCs was detected using Western blotting.
Results
SP 600125 (10-6 to 10-5 M) attenuated dexmedetomidine-evoked contraction in a concentration-dependent manner, whereas PD 98059 had no effect on dexmedetomidine-induced contraction. SB 203580 (10-5 M) attenuated dexmedetomidine-induced contraction. Dexmedetomidine-evoked contractions were both abolished by atipamezole and attenuated by verapamil and nifedipine. Dexmedetomidine induced phosphorylation of JNK and p38 MAPK in rat aortic SMCs, but did not induce phosphorylation of ERK.
Conclusion
Dexmedetomidine-induced contraction involves a JNK- and p38 MAPK-mediated pathway downstream of α2-adrenoceptor stimulation in rat aortic SMCs. In addition, dexmedetomidine-induced contractions are primarily dependent on calcium influx via L-type calcium channels.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2011.52.3.420
PMCID: PMC3101051  PMID: 21488184
Dexmedetomidine; mitogen-activated protein kinase; α2B-adrenoceptors; hypertension; rat aorta
5.  Dexmedetomidine protects against renal ischemia and reperfusion injury by inhibiting the JAK/STAT signaling activation 
Background
The α2-adrenoreceptor agonist dexmedetomidine is known to provide renoprotection against ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury. However the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the Janus kinase and signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling pathway plays a role in dexmedetomidine’s renoprotection.
Methods
I/R model was induced by bilateral renal pedicle clamping for 45 min followed by 48 h of reperfusion in male Wistar rat. Sham laparotomy served as controls. Animals received dexmedetomidine (50 μg/kg, i.p.) in the absence or presence of atipamezole (250 μg/kg, i.p.), or vehicle (DMSO) in the absence or presence of selective JAK2 inhibitor tyrphostin AG490 (10 mg/kg, i.p.) before ischemia. Renal function, histology, apoptosis, expression of cleaved caspase 3 protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and phosphorylations of JAK2, STAT1 and STAT3 were assessed.
Results
The animals treated with either dexmedetomidine or AG490 exhibited an improved renal functional recovery, attenuated histological lesions and reduced number of apoptotic tubular epithelial cells. Either dexmedetomidine or AG490 inhibited the phosphorylations of JAK2 and its downstream molecule STAT1 and STAT3, accompanied by down-regulation the expression of cleaved caspase 3, ICAM-1 and MCP-1 proteins, and significantly ameliorated renal I/R injury.
Conclusions
Dexmedetomidine protects kidney against I/R injury, at least in part, through its inhibitory effects on injury-induced activation of JAK/STAT signaling pathway. If our data can be extrapolated to clinical setting, then dexmedetomidine may therefore serve as a clinical strategy to treat/prevent perioperative renal I/R injury.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-141
PMCID: PMC3700850  PMID: 23759023
Dexmedetomidine; Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury; AG490; JAK/STAT; Renoprotection
6.  Effect of dexmedetomidine on lung ischemia-reperfusion injury 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2013;9(2):419-426.
Dexmedetomidine, a specific selective α2-adrenergic agonist, does not only have the characteristics of being a sedative and analgesic, but also exhibits a protective role in brain ischemia-reperfusion injury and inhibits the inflammation in animals with sepsis. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether dexmedetomidine is capable of attenuating rat pulmonary damage induced by ischemia-reperfusion injury, which is a type of acute sterile lung injury. Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned into six groups: The sham-operated (sham) group, the lung ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) group, intravenous injection of dexmedetomidine 2.5 μg/kg/h (Dex2.5) or 5 μg/kg/h (Dex5) for 1 h prior to ischemia, combination of α2-adrenergic antagonist yohimbine prior to dexmedetomidine pre-treatment (Dex+Yoh) and pre-administration of yohimbine alone (Yoh) prior to ischemia. Lung injury was assessed by the histopathological changes, arterial blood gas, wet/dry (w/d) weight ratio and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity of the lung. The concentration of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) mRNA in the lung were determined by quantitative PCR, and phosphorylated levels of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 were determined by western blotting. Pre-treatment with dexmedetomidine significantly reduced the lung injury, w/d weight ratio and MPO activity, and decreased the concentration of TNF-α, IL-6 and MCP-1 in BALF compared with the I/R group. The expression of TLR4 and MyD88 mRNA and the levels of phosphorylated JNK and ERK1/2 in the lung tissue were markedly downregulated by intravenous injection of dexmedetomidne for 1 h prior to lung I/R. The protective effects of dexmedetomidine on the lung were not completely reversed by the α2-adrenergic antagonist, yohimbine. Pre-treatment with dexmedetomidine is capable of reducing pulmonary damage and inhibiting sterile inflammation induced by lung I/R injury. TLR4/MyD88/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling is involved in the protective mechanism of dexmedetomidine through α2-adrenoceptor independence.
doi:10.3892/mmr.2013.1867
PMCID: PMC3896524  PMID: 24345905
dexmedetomidine; ischemia-reperfusion injury; interleukin-6; tumor necrosis factor-α
7.  Does dexmedetomidine reduce secondary damage after spinal cord injury? An experimental study 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(3):336-344.
The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the possible protective effect of dexmedetomidine (DEX) on traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Twenty-two New Zealand rabbits were divided into three groups: sham (no drug or operation, n = 6), Control [SCI + single dose of 1 mL saline intraperitoneally (i.p), after trauma; n = 8] and DEX (SCI + 1 μg/kg dexmedetomidine in 1 mL, i.p, after trauma, n = 8). Laminectomy was performed at T10 and balloon angioplasty catheter was applied extradurally. Four and 24 h after surgery, rabbits were evaluated by an independent observer according to the Tarlov scoring system. Blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), tissue samples from spinal cord were taken for biochemical and histopathological evaluations. After 4 h of SCI, all animals in control or DEX treated groups became paraparesic. On the other hand, 24 h after SCI, partial improvements were observed in both control and DEX treated groups. Traumatic SCI leads to increase in the lipid peroxidation and decreases enzymatic or nonenzymatic endogenous antioxidative defense systems. Again, SCI leads to apoptosis in spinal cord. DEX treatment slightly prevented lipid peroxidation and augmented endogenous antioxidative defense systems in CSF or spinal cord tissue, but failed to prevent apoptosis or neurodeficit after traumatic SCI. Therefore, it could be suggested that treatment with dexmedetomidine does not produce beneficial results in SCI.
doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0872-x
PMCID: PMC2899411  PMID: 19130093
Spinal cord injury; Dexmedetomidine; Neuroprotection; Oxidative stress; Apoptosis
8.  Argon neuroprotection 
Critical Care  2010;14(1):117.
Certain noble gases, though inert, exhibit remarkable biological properties. Notably, xenon and argon provide neuroprotection in animal models of central nervous system injury. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Loetscher and colleagues provided further evidence that argon may have therapeutic properties for neuronal toxicity by demonstrating protection against both traumatic and oxygen-glucose deprivation injury of organotypic hippocampal cultures in vitro. Their data are of interest as argon is more abundant, and therefore cheaper, than xenon (the latter of which is currently in clinical trials for perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury; TOBYXe; NCT00934700). We eagerly await in vivo data to complement the promising in vitro data hailing argon neuroprotection.
doi:10.1186/cc8847
PMCID: PMC2875517  PMID: 20236500
9.  Effect of dexmedetomidine pretreatment on lung injury following intestinal ischemia-reperfusion 
Reperfusion injury is tissue damage caused by the re-supply of blood following a period of ischemia in tissues. Intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is an extremely common clinical event associated with distant organ injury. The intestine serves as the initial organ of multi-system organ dysfunction syndrome. It is extremely important to identify a method to protect against IRI, as it is a key factor associated with morbidity and mortality in patients. In the present study, the protective effects of pretreatment with dexmedetomidine hydrochloride were investigated. Rats were divided into six groups and models of intestinal ischemia were created in the five groups. Certain groups were pretreated with dexmedetomidine hydrochloride. The levels of TNF-α and IL-6 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in order to evaluate the injury. Tissue sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin to visualize the damage. qPCR and western blotting were performed to examine the inflammatory status. Pretreatment with various doses of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride significantly reduced the pathological scores and the inflammatory reaction. The levels of TNF-α, IL-6, TLR4 and MyD88 were decreased in the dexmedetomidine hydrochloride treatment groups compared with those in the sham control and untreated ischemia reperfusion groups. The results of the present study indicate that pretreatment with dexmedetomidine hydrochloride may be a useful method of reducing the damage caused by IRI.
doi:10.3892/etm.2013.1317
PMCID: PMC3829760  PMID: 24255662
intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury; dexmedetomidine hydrochloride; tumor necrosis factor-α; interleukin-6
10.  Acute plasmalemma permeability and protracted clearance of injured cells after controlled cortical impact in mice 
Cell death after traumatic brain injury (TBI) evolves over days to weeks. Despite advances in understanding biochemical mechanisms that contribute to posttraumatic brain cell death, the time course of cell injury, death, and removal remains incompletely characterized in experimental TBI models. In a mouse controlled cortical impact (CCI) model, plasmalemma permeability to propidium iodide (PI) was an early and persistent feature of posttraumatic cellular injury in cortex and hippocampus. In cortical and hippocampal brain regions known to be vulnerable to traumatic cell death, the number of PI + cells peaked early after CCI, and increased with increasing injury severity in hippocampus but not cortex (P < 0.05). Propidium iodide labeling correlated strongly with hematoxylin and eosin staining in injured cells (r = 0.99, P < 0.001), suggesting that plasmalemma damage portends fatal cellular injury. Using PI pulse labeling to identify and follow the fate of a cohort of injured cells, we found that many PI + cells recovered plasmalemma integrity by 24 h and were terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated UTP nick end labeling negative, but nonetheless disappeared from injured brain by 7 days. Propidium iodide-positive cells in dentate gyrus showed significant ultrastructural damage, including plasmalemma and nuclear membrane damage or overt membrane loss, in all cells when examined by laser capture microdissection and transmission electron microscopy 1 to 24 h after CCI. The data suggest that plasmalemma damage is a fundamental marker of cellular injury after CCI; some injured cells might have an extended window for potential rescue by neuroprotective strategies.
doi:10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600544
PMCID: PMC2711980  PMID: 17713463
apoptosis; mice; necrosis; plasmalemma; propidium iodide; traumatic brain injury
11.  Endogenous GFAP-Positive Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells in the Postnatal Mouse Cortex Are Activated following Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2012;29(5):828-842.
Abstract
Interest in promoting regeneration of the injured nervous system has recently turned toward the use of endogenous stem cells. Elucidating cues involved in driving these precursor cells out of quiescence following injury, and the signals that drive them toward neuronal and glial lineages, will help to harness these cells for repair. Using a biomechanically validated in vitro organotypic stretch injury model, cortico-hippocampal slices from postnatal mice were cultured and a stretch injury equivalent to a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) applied. In uninjured cortex, proliferative potential under in vitro conditions is virtually absent in older slices (equivalent postnatal day 15 compared to 8). However, following a severe stretch injury, this potential is restored in injured outer cortex. Using slices from mice expressing a fluorescent reporter on the human glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, we show that GFAP+ cells account for the majority of proliferating neurospheres formed, and that these cells are likely to arise from the cortical parenchyma and not from the subventricular zone. Moreover, we provide evidence for a correlation between upregulation of sonic hedgehog signaling, a pathway known to regulate stem cell proliferation, and this restoration of regenerative potential following TBI. Our results indicate that a source of quiescent endogenous stem cells residing in the cortex and subcortical tissue proliferate in vitro following TBI. Moreover, these proliferating cells are multipotent and are derived mostly from GFAP-expressing cells. This raises the possibility of using this endogenous source of stem cells for repair following TBI.
doi:10.1089/neu.2011.1923
PMCID: PMC3303093  PMID: 21895532
cerebral cortex; organotypic slices; stem cells; TBI
12.  DIDS protects against neuronal injury by blocking Toll-like receptor 2 activated-mechanisms 
Journal of neurochemistry  2008;108(3):835-846.
Using an in vitro ischemia model (ischemic solution, IS model) that induces penumbral cell death, we examined the effect of 4,4'-diisothio-cyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (DIDS) on cell injury/death and underlying molecular mechanisms. Propidium iodide (PI) uptake was used to quantify cell death in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. A 24-hr IS exposure caused a 5-fold increase in mean PI fluorescence intensity. DIDS, dose-dependently (1–4000 µM), reduced the IS-induced PI uptake in hippocampal CA1 neurons with an IC50 of 26 µM. This protective effect of DIDS was reversible and effective even 6 hrs following the onset of IS treatment. Gene expression profiling studies indicated that among ~46,000 transcripts tested, the most significantly up-regulated gene by IS was interleukin-1β (IL-1β) which was also the most significantly down-regulated gene when DIDS was added to the IS-treated slices. The addition of a recombinant interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (100µg/ml) or neutralizing IL-1β antibody significantly attenuated the IS-induced cell death, indicating that the up-regulation of IL-1β with IS treatment contributed to the IS-induced cell death. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), another gene that was significantly up-regulated by IS and suppressed by DIDS, was studied to determine whether it was related to the IL-1β up-regulation. Indeed, this was the case as the IS-induced IL-1β up-regulation was abolished in TLR2−/− mouse brain slices. Furthermore, the IS-induced cell death was significantly reduced in TLR2−/− when compared with that in WT slices, indicating that TLR2 is functionally upstream of IL-1β in this IS model. We conclude that a) IS up-regulates TLR2 expression and augments TLR2 signaling, causing overexpression of IL-1β which leads to cell death; b) DIDS blocks IS-induced neuronal injury, at least partially, by suppressing the TLR2 pathway.
doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05838.x
PMCID: PMC2782475  PMID: 19077053
13.  De Novo Synthesized Estradiol Protects against Methylmercury-Induced Neurotoxicity in Cultured Rat Hippocampal Slices 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55559.
Background
Estrogen, a class of female sex steroids, is neuroprotective. Estrogen is synthesized in specific areas of the brain. There is a possibility that the de novo synthesized estrogen exerts protective effect in brain, although direct evidence for the neuroprotective function of brain-synthesized estrogen has not been clearly demonstrated. Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxin that induces neuronal degeneration in the central nervous system. The neurotoxicity of MeHg is region-specific, and the molecular mechanisms for the selective neurotoxicity are not well defined. In this study, the protective effect of de novo synthesized 17β-estradiol on MeHg-induced neurotoxicity in rat hippocampus was examined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Neurotoxic effect of MeHg on hippocampal organotypic slice culture was quantified by propidium iodide fluorescence imaging. Twenty-four-hour treatment of the slices with MeHg caused cell death in a dose-dependent manner. The toxicity of MeHg was attenuated by pre-treatment with exogenously added estradiol. The slices de novo synthesized estradiol. The estradiol synthesis was not affected by treatment with 1 µM MeHg. The toxicity of MeHg was enhanced by inhibition of de novo estradiol synthesis, and the enhancement of toxicity was recovered by the addition of exogenous estradiol. The neuroprotective effect of estradiol was inhibited by an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist, and mimicked by pre-treatment of the slices with agonists for ERα and ERβ, indicating the neuroprotective effect was mediated by ERs.
Conclusions/Significance
Hippocampus de novo synthesized estradiol protected hippocampal cells from MeHg-induced neurotoxicity via ERα- and ERβ-mediated pathways. The self-protective function of de novo synthesized estradiol might be one of the possible mechanisms for the selective sensitivity of the brain to MeHg toxicity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055559
PMCID: PMC3566000  PMID: 23405170
14.  The Effects of Dexmedetomidine on Secondary Acute Lung and Kidney Injuries in the Rat Model of Intra-Abdominal Sepsis 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:292687.
In the present study, the effects of dexmedetomidine on secondary lung and kidney injuries were studied in the rat model of intra-abdominal sepsis by immunohistological and biochemical examinations. We measured serum creatinine, kidney tissue malondialdehide and plasma neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin levels. In order to evaluate tissue injury we determined kidney tissue mononuclear cell infiltration score, alveolar macrophage count, histological kidney and lung injury scores and kidney and lung tissue immunoreactivity scores. We demonstrated that dexmedetomidine attenuates sepsis-induced lung and kidney injuries and apoptosis in the rat model of sepsis. There is still need for comparative studies in order to determine the effects of dexmedetomidine on organ functions in early human sepsis.
doi:10.1155/2013/292687
PMCID: PMC3586481  PMID: 23476127
15.  Chelation of neurotoxic zinc levels does not improve neurobehavioral outcome after traumatic brain injury 
Neuroscience letters  2008;440(2):155-159.
Increases of synaptically released zinc and intracellular accumulation of zinc in hippocampal neurons after traumatic or ischemic brain injury is neurotoxic and chelation of zinc has been shown to reduce neurodegeneration. Although our previous studies showed that zinc chelation in traumatically brain-injured rats correlated with an increase in whole-brain expression of several neuroprotective genes and reduced numbers of apoptotic neurons, the effect on functional outcome has not been determined, and the question of whether this treatment may actually be clinically relevant has not been answered. In the present study, we show that treatment of TBI rats with the zinc chelator calcium EDTA reduces the numbers of injured, Fluoro-Jade- positive neurons in the rat hippocampus 24 hours after injury but does not improve neurobehavioral outcome (spatial memory deficits) two weeks post-injury. Our data suggest that zinc chelation, despite providing short-term histological neuroprotection, fails to improve long-term functional outcome, perhaps because long-term disruptions in homeostatic levels of zinc adversely influence hippocampus-dependent spatial memory.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2008.05.068
PMCID: PMC2532498  PMID: 18556117
traumatic brain injury; zinc chelation; behavioral outcome
16.  Action of dexmedetomidine on the substantia gelatinosa neurons of the rat spinal cord 
The European Journal of Neuroscience  2008;27(12):3182-3190.
Dexmedetomidine is a highly specific, potent and selective α2-adrenoceptor agonist. Although intrathecal and epidural administration of dexmedetomidine has been found to produce analgesia, whether this analgesia results from an effect on spinal cord substantia gelatinosa (SG) neurons remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of dexmedetomidine on postsynaptic transmission in SG neurons of rat spinal cord slices using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. In 92% of the SG neurons examined (n= 84), bath-applied dexmedetomidine induced outward currents at −70 mV in a concentration-dependent manner, with the value of effective concentration producing a half-maximal response (0.62 μm). The outward currents induced by dexmedetomidine were suppressed by the α2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine, but not by prazosin, an α1-, α2B- and α2C-adrenoceptor antagonist. Moreover, the dexmedetomidine-induced currents were partially suppressed by the α2C-adrenoceptor antagonist JP-1302, while simultaneous application of JP-1302 and the α2A-adrenoceptor antagonist BRL44408 abolished the current completely. The action of dexmedetomidine was mimicked by the α2A-adrenoceptor agonist oxymetazoline. Plots of the current–voltage relationship revealed a reversal potential at around −86 mV. Dexmedetomidine-induced currents were blocked by the addition of GDP-β-S [guanosine-5′-O-(2-thiodiphosphate)] or Cs+ to the pipette solution. These findings suggest that dexmedetomidine hyperpolarizes the membrane potentials of SG neurons by G-protein-mediated activation of K+ channels through α2A- and α2C-adrenoceptors. This action of dexmedetomidine might contribute, at least in part, to its antinociceptive action in the spinal cord.
doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06260.x
PMCID: PMC2658019  PMID: 18554299
α2-adrenoceptor; analgesia; dexmedetomidine; dorsal horn; substantia gelatinosa; whole-cell patch-clamp
17.  Dexmedetomidine for monitored anesthesia care in patients undergoing liberation procedure for multiple sclerosis: An observational study 
Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia  2012;6(4):358-362.
Background:
It has been postulated that Multiple sclerosis (MS) stems from a narrowing in the veins that drain blood from the brain, known medically as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI. It has been proposed that balloon angioplasty should alleviate the symptoms of MS. This procedure is also known as The “Liberation Procedure”. Accordingly, a clinical study was undertaken to determine the effects of dexmedetomidine in patients undergoing the liberation procedure.
Aims:
To assess the effectiveness of dexmedetomidine in providing adequate sedation and pain relief for patients undergoing the liberation procedure.
Settings and design:
A prospective, nonrandomized observational study of 60 consecutive adult patients undergoing the liberation procedure under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) who will receive dexmedetomidine as an anesthetic agent.
Methods:
A total of 60 adult patients were enrolled in the study. Dexmedetomidine was administered to all patients in a loading dose of 1 mcg/kg, which was followed by a maintenance dose of 0.2–0.5 mcg/kg/h. The evaluation of quality of sedation was based on Ramsay Sedation and the quality of analgesia was assessed using the visual analog scale. The following parameters were measured continuously: heart rate, mean arterial pressure and hemoglobin oxygen saturation. Patients were asked to answer the question, “How would you rate your experience with the sedation you have received during surgery?” using a seven-point Likert-like verbal rating scale.
Statistical analysis:
Repeated measurements were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA for HR and BP.
Results:
Most of our patients were satisfied with their sedation. In most of the patients, MAP and HR dropped after the bolus dose of dexmedetomidine, and the drop was statistically significant.
Conclusions:
Dexmedetomidine can be used as a sole sedative agent in patients undergoing the liberation procedure.
doi:10.4103/1658-354X.105865
PMCID: PMC3591554  PMID: 23493652
Dexmedetomidine; monitored anesthesia care; multiple sclerosis liberation procedure
18.  Dexmedetomidine as adjunct treatment for severe alcohol withdrawal in the ICU 
Background
Patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal in the intensive care unit (ICU) often require escalating doses of benzodiazepines and not uncommonly require intubation and mechanical ventilation for airway protection. This may lead to complications and prolonged ICU stays. Experimental studies and single case reports suggest the α2-agonist dexmedetomidine is effective in managing the autonomic symptoms seen with alcohol withdrawal. We report a retrospective analysis of 20 ICU patients treated with dexmedetomidine for benzodiazepine-refractory alcohol withdrawal.
Methods
Records from a 23-bed mixed medical-surgical ICU were abstracted from November 2008 to November 2010 for patients who received dexmedetomidine for alcohol withdrawal. The main analysis compared alcohol withdrawal severity scores and medication doses for 24 h before dexmedetomidine therapy with values during the first 24 h of dexmedetomidine therapy.
Results
There was a 61.5% reduction in benzodiazepine dosing after initiation of dexmedetomidine (n = 17; p < 0.001) and a 21.1% reduction in alcohol withdrawal severity score (n = 11; p = .015). Patients experienced less tachycardia and systolic hypertension following dexmedetomidine initiation. One patient out of 20 required intubation. A serious adverse effect occurred in one patient, in whom dexmedetomidine was discontinued for two 9-second asystolic pauses noted on telemetry.
Conclusions
This observational study suggests that dexmedetomidine therapy for severe alcohol withdrawal is associated with substantially reduced benzodiazepine dosing, a decrease in alcohol withdrawal scoring and blunted hyperadrenergic cardiovascular response to ethanol abstinence. In this series, there was a low rate of mechanical ventilation associated with the above strategy. One of 20 patients suffered two 9-second asystolic pauses, which did not recur after dexmedetomidine discontinuation. Prospective trials are warranted to compare adjunct treatment with dexmedetomidine versus standard benzodiazepine therapy.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-12
PMCID: PMC3464179  PMID: 22620986
Alcohol withdrawal delirium; Alcohol withdrawal syndrome; Dexmedetomidine; Intensive care; Critical care; Benzodiazepines
19.  Event-related Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of a Low Dose of Dexmedetomidine that Impairs Long-term Memory 
Anesthesiology  2012;117(5):981-995.
Background
Work suggests the amnesia of Dexmedetomidine (an α2-adrenergic agonist) is caused by a failure of information to be encoded into long-term memory and that dexmedetomidine might differentially affect memory for emotionally arousing material. We investigated these issues in humans using event-related neuroimaging to reveal alterations in brain activity and subsequent memory effects associated with drug exposure.
Methods
Forty-eight healthy volunteers received a computer-controlled infusion of either placebo or low-dose dexmedetomidine (target = 0.15ng/ml plasma) during neuroimaging while they viewed and rated 80 emotionally arousing (e.g., graphic war wound) and 80 nonarousing neutral (e.g., cup) pictures for emotional arousal content. Long-term picture memory was tested 4 days later without neuroimaging. Imaging data were analyzed for drug effects, emotional processing differences and memory related changes with statistical parametric mapping-8.
Results
Dexmedetomidine impaired overall (mean ± SEM) picture memory (Placebo: 0.58 ± 0.03 vs. a dexmedetomidine: 0.45 ± 0.03, p = 0.001), but did not differentially modulate memory as a function of item arousal. Arousing pictures were better remembered for both groups. Dexmedetomidine had regionally heterogeneous effects on brain activity, primarily decreasing it in the cortex while increasing it in thalamic and posterior hippocampal regions. Nevertheless, a single subsequent memory effect for item memory common to both groups was identified only in the left hippocampus/amygdala. Much of this effect was found to be larger for the placebo than dexmedetomidine group.
Conclusion
Dexmedetomidine impaired long-term picture memory, but did not disproportionately block memory for emotionally arousing items. The memory impairment on dexmedetomidine corresponds with a weakened hippocampal subsequent memory effect.
doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e31826be467
PMCID: PMC3482301  PMID: 22929730
20.  Population Pharmacokinetics of Dexmedetomidine in Critically Ill Patients 
Clinical Drug Investigation  2013;33(8):579-587.
Background and Objectives
Although the pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine in healthy volunteers have been studied, there are limited data about the pharmacokinetics of long-term administration of dexmedetomidine in critically ill patients.
Methods
This population pharmacokinetic analysis was performed to quantify the pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine in critically ill patients following infusions up to 14 days in duration. The data consisted of three phase III studies (527 patients with sparse blood sampling, for a total of 2,144 samples). Covariates were included in a full random-effects covariate model and the most important covariate relationships were tested separately. The linearity of dexmedetomidine clearance was evaluated by observing steady-state plasma concentrations acquired at various infusion rates.
Results
The data were adequately described with a one-compartment model. The clearance of dexmedetomidine was 39 (95 % CI 37–41) L/h and volume of distribution 104 (95 % CI 93–115) L. Both clearance and volume of distribution were highly variable between patients (coefficients of variation of 62 and 57 %, respectively), which highlights the importance of dose titration by response. Covariate analysis showed a strong correlation between body weight and clearance of dexmedetomidine. The clearance of dexmedetomidine was constant in the dose range 0.2–1.4 μg/kg/h.
Conclusions
The pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine are dose-proportional in prolonged infusions when dosing rates of 0.2–1.4 μg/kg/h, recommended by the Dexdor® summary of product characteristics, are used.
doi:10.1007/s40261-013-0101-1
PMCID: PMC3717151  PMID: 23839483
21.  Ineffective Doses of Dexmedetomidine Potentiates the Antinociception Induced by Morphine and Fentanyl in Acute Pain Model 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the synergistic potentiation effect of ineffective doses of dexmedetomidine on antinociception induced by morphine and fentanyl in acute pain model in rats. Seventy albino Wistar rats were separated into 7 groups. Data for the control and sham groups were recorded. The ineffective dose of dexmedetomidine was investigated and found to be 3 µ g/kg. Each group was administered the following medications: 3 mg/kg morphine (intraperitoneal) to Group 3, 5 µg/kg fentanyl (intraperitoneal) to Group 4, dexmedetomidine 3 µ g/kg (subcutaneously) to Group 5, dexmedetomidine 3 µg/kg (subcutaneous)+3 mg/kg morphine (intraperitoneal) to Group 6 and finally 3 µg/kg dexmedetomidine (subcutaneous)+5 µg/kg fentanyl (intraperitoneal) to Group 7. Just before the application and 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min after the administration of medication, two measurements of tail flick (TF) and hot plate (HP) tests were performed. The averages of the measurements were recorded. TF and HP latencies were the main outcomes. The analgesic effect of the combinations with dexmedetomidine+morphine (Group 6) and dexmedetomidine+fentanyl (Group 7), compared to the analgesic effect of morphine alone and fentanyl alone was significantly higher at 15, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after administration. In this study, dexmedetomidine in ineffective doses, when combined with morphine and fentanyl, potentiates the effects of both morphine and fentanyl.
doi:10.4196/kjpp.2013.17.5.417
PMCID: PMC3823954  PMID: 24227942
Acute pain; Dexmedetomidine; Fentanyl; Morphine; Potentiation
22.  Sedation in Traumatic Brain Injury 
Several different classes of sedative agents are used in the management of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). These agents are used at induction of anaesthesia, to maintain sedation, to reduce elevated intracranial pressure, to terminate seizure activity and facilitate ventilation. The intent of their use is to prevent secondary brain injury by facilitating and optimising ventilation, reducing cerebral metabolic rate and reducing intracranial pressure. There is limited evidence available as to the best choice of sedative agents in TBI, with each agent having specific advantages and disadvantages. This review discusses these agents and offers evidence-based guidance as to the appropriate context in which each agent may be used. Propofol, benzodiazepines, narcotics, barbiturates, etomidate, ketamine, and dexmedetomidine are reviewed and compared.
doi:10.1155/2012/637171
PMCID: PMC3461283  PMID: 23050154
23.  Prolonged Paroxysmal Sympathetic Storming Associated with Spontaneous Subarachnoid Hemorrhage 
Case Reports in Medicine  2013;2013:358182.
Paroxysmal sympathetic storming (PSS) is a rare disorder characterized by acute onset of nonstimulated tachycardia, hypertension, tachypnea, hyperthermia, external posturing, and diaphoresis. It is most frequently associated with severe traumatic brain injuries and has been reported in intracranial tumors, hydrocephalous, severe hypoxic brain injury, and intracerebral hemorrhage. Although excessive release of catecholamine and therefore increased sympathetic activities have been reported in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), there is no descriptive report of PSS primarily caused by spontaneous SAH up to date. Here, we report a case of prolonged PSS in a patient with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage and consequent vasospasm. The sympathetic storming started shortly after patient was rewarmed from hypothermia protocol and symptoms responded to Labetalol, but intermittent recurrence did not resolve until 3 weeks later with treatment involving Midazolam, Fentanyl, Dexmedetomidine, Propofol, Bromocriptine, and minimizing frequency of neurological and vital checks. In conclusion, prolonged sympathetic storming can also be caused by spontaneous SAH. In this case, vasospasm might be a precipitating factor. Paralytics and hypothermia could mask the manifestations of PSS. The treatment of the refractory case will need both timely adjustment of medications and minimization of exogenous stressors or stimuli.
doi:10.1155/2013/358182
PMCID: PMC3582073  PMID: 23476663
24.  Hypothermia reduces calcium entry via the N-methyl-D-aspartate and ryanodine receptors in cultured hippocampal neurons 
European journal of pharmacology  2012;698(1-3):186-192.
Hypothermia is a powerful neuroprotective method when induced following cardiac arrest, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. The physiological effects of hypothermia are multifaceted and therefore a better knowledge of its therapeutic targets will be central to developing innovative combination therapies to augment the protective benefits of hypothermia. Altered neuronal calcium dynamics have been implicated following stroke, status epilepticus and traumatic brain injury. This study was therefore initiated to evaluate the effect of hypothermia on various modes of calcium entry into a neuron. Here, we utilized various pharmacological agents to stimulate major routes of calcium entry in primary cultured hippocampal neurons. Fluorescent calcium indicator Fura-2AM was used to compare calcium ratio under normothermic (37°C) and hypothermic (31°C) conditions. The results of this study indicate that hypothermia preferentially reduces calcium entry through N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and ryanodine receptors. Hypothermia, on the other hand, did not have a significant effect on calcium entry through the voltage-dependent calcium channels or the inositol tri-phosphate receptors. The ability of hypothermia to selectively affect both N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and ryanodine receptors-mediated calcium systems makes it an attractive intervention for alleviating calcium elevations that are present following many neurological injuries.
doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2012.10.010
PMCID: PMC3536497  PMID: 23085028
Calcium; hypothermia; ryanodine receptor; NMDA receptor
25.  Cyclosporin A Preserves Mitochondrial Function after Traumatic Brain Injury in the Immature Rat and Piglet 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2011;28(5):763-774.
Abstract
Cyclosporin A (CsA) has been shown to be neuroprotective in mature animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI), but its effects on immature animal models of TBI are unknown. In mature animal models, CsA inhibits the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP), thereby maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis following injury by inhibiting calcium influx and preserving mitochondrial membrane potential. The aim of the present study was to evaluate CsA's ability to preserve mitochondrial bioenergetic function following TBI (as measured by mitochondrial respiration and cerebral microdialysis), in two immature models (focal and diffuse), and in two different species (rat and piglet). Three groups were studied: injured+CsA, injured+saline vehicle, and uninjured shams. In addition, we evaluated CsA's effects on cerebral hemodynamics as measured by a novel thermal diffusion probe. The results demonstrate that post-injury administration of CsA ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction, preserves cerebral blood flow (CBF), and limits neuropathology in immature animals 24 h post-TBI. Mitochondria were isolated 24 h after controlled cortical impact (CCI) in rats and rapid non-impact rotational injury (RNR) in piglets, and CsA ameliorated cerebral bioenergetic crisis with preservation of the respiratory control ratio (RCR) to sham levels. Results were more dramatic in RNR piglets than in CCI rats. In piglets, CsA also preserved lactate pyruvate ratios (LPR), as measured by cerebral microdialysis and CBF at sham levels 24 h after injury, in contrast to the significant alterations seen in injured piglets compared to shams (p<0.01). The administration of CsA to piglets following RNR promoted a 42% decrease in injured brain volume (p<0.01). We conclude that CsA exhibits significant neuroprotective activity in immature models of focal and diffuse TBI, and has exciting translational potential as a therapeutic agent for neuroprotection in children.
doi:10.1089/neu.2010.1635
PMCID: PMC3125546  PMID: 21250918
cerebral microdialysis; cyclosporin A; mitochondrial bioenergetics; neuroprotection; pediatric brain injury

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