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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Atorvastatin ameliorates cerebral vasospasm and early brain injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage and inhibits caspase-dependent apoptosis pathway

Gao Cheng1*, Liu Wei2, Sun Zhi-dan1, Zhao Shi-guang1 and Liu Xiang-zhen1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, No.23 Youzheng Street, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang, PR China

2 Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, No.23 Youzheng Street, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang, PR China

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-7

Published: 21 January 2009

Abstract

Backgroud

Cerebral vasospasm (CVS) and early brain injury remain major causes of morbidity and mortality after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, also known as statins, has the neuroprotective effects and ameliorating CVS after SAH. This study was designed to explore apoptosis inhibiting effects of atorvastatin and its potential apoptotic signal pathway after SAH.

Results

Preserving blood-brain-barrier permeability, decreasing brain edema, increasing neurological scores and ameliorating cerebral vasospasm were obtained after prophylactic use of atorvastatin. TUNEL-positive cells were reduced markedly both in basilar artery and in brain cortex by atorvastatin. Apoptosis-related proteins P53, AIF and Cytochrome C were up-regulated after SAH, while they were not affected by atorvastatin. In addition, up-regulation of caspase-3 and caspase-8 after SAH was decreased by atorvastatin treatment both in mRNA and in protein levels.

Conclusion

The neuroprotective effects of atorvastatin after SAH may be related to its inhibition of caspase-dependent proapoptotic pathway based on the present results.