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Activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) is deleterious during cerebral ischemia. We assessed the influence of PARP activation induced by cerebral ischemia on the synthesis of proinflammatory mediators including the cytokines, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the adhesion molecules, E-selectin and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1).Ischemia was induced by intravascular occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery for 1 h in male Swiss mice anaesthetized with ketamine and xylazine. The PARP inhibitor PJ34 (1.25–25 mg kg−1) was administered intraperitoneally 15 min before and 4 hours after, the onset of ischemia. Animals were killed 6 h or 24 h after ischemia and cerebral tissue removed for analysis.Ischemia increased TNF-α protein in cerebral tissue at 6 and 24 h after ischemia. All doses of PJ34 blocked the increase in TNF-α at 6 h and 25 mg kg−1 PJ34 had a sustained effect for up to 24 h. Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction showed that PJ34 (25 mg kg−1) reduced the increase in TNF-α mRNA by 70% at 6 h. PJ34 also prevented the increase in mRNAs encoding IL-6 (−41%), E-selectin (−81%) and ICAM-1 (−54%). PJ34 (25 mg kg−1) reduced the infarct volume (−26%) and improved neurological deficit, 24 h after ischemia.PJ34 inhibited the increase in the mRNAs of four inflammatory mediators, caused by cerebral ischemia. The contribution of this effect of PJ34 to neuroprotection remains to be clarified.