Niacin Suppresses the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway and Attenuates Brain Injury After Cardiac Arrest in Rats*

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Abstract

Objectives:

To determine whether niacin attenuates brain injury and improves neurological outcome after cardiac arrest in rats and if its therapeutic benefits are associated with suppression of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.

Design:

Prospective laboratory study.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Subjects:

Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 77).

Interventions:

After 6 minutes of no flow time induced by ventricular fibrillation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was provided and return of spontaneous circulation was achieved. Animals were then administered vehicle, single low dose (360 mg/kg; at 1 hr postreturn of spontaneous circulation), single high dose (1080 mg/kg; at 1 hr), or repeated low dose of niacin (360 mg/kg/d for 3 d; at 1, 24, and 48 hr) through an orogastric tube.

Measurements and Main Results:

Neurologic deficit scales were scored at 24 hours, 72 hours, and 7 days postreturn of spontaneous circulation. Single high dose of niacin improved neurologic deficit scales at 48 hours and 7 days, and repeated low dose of niacin improved neurologic deficit scales at 7 days. Then, a separate set of animals were killed at 72 hours postreturn of spontaneous circulation, and brain tissues were harvested. Single high dose and repeated low dose of niacin attenuated cellular apoptosis and neuronal damage in hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 and decreased axonal injury and microglial activation in corpus callosum. They increased nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate and reduced glutathione levels, and decreased malondialdehyde level in brain tissues. Furthermore, they suppressed the phosphorylations of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase and the cleavage of caspase 3. However, they failed to enhance extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 phosphorylation.

Conclusions:

Single high dose and repeated low dose of niacin attenuated brain injury and improved neurological outcome after cardiac arrest in rats. Their therapeutic benefits were associated with suppressions of the phosphorylations of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase and the cleavage of caspase 3.

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