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Open Access Research article

Free radical scavenger, edaravone, reduces the lesion size of lacunar infarction in human brain ischemic stroke

Taizen Nakase*, Shotaroh Yoshioka and Akifumi Suzuki

Author Affiliations

Department of Stroke Science, Research Institute for Brain and Blood Vessels - Akita 6-10 Sensyu Kubota Machi, Akita, 010-0874, Japan

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:39  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-39

Published: 30 March 2011

Abstract

Background

Although free radicals have been reported to play a role in the expansion of ischemic brain lesions, the effect of free radical scavengers is still under debate. In this study, the temporal profile of ischemic stroke lesion sizes was assessed for more than one year to evaluate the effect of edaravone which might reduce ischemic damage.

Methods

We sequentially enrolled acute ischemic stroke patients, who admitted between April 2003 and March 2004, into the edaravone(-) group (n = 83) and, who admitted between April 2004 and March 2005, into the edaravone(+) group (n = 93). Because, edaravone has been used as the standard treatment after April 2004 in our hospital. To assess the temporal profile of the stroke lesion size, the ratio of the area [T2-weighted magnetic resonance images (T2WI)/iffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images (DWI)] were calculated. Observations on T2WI were continued beyond one year, and observational times were classified into subacute (1-2 months after the onset), early chronic (3-6 month), late chronic (7-12 months) and old (≥13 months) stages. Neurological deficits were assessed by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale upon admission and at discharge and by the modified Rankin Scale at 1 year following stroke onset.

Results

Stroke lesion size was significantly attenuated in the edaravone(+) group compared with the edaravone(-) group in the period of early and late chronic observational stages. However, this reduction in lesion size was significant within a year and only for the small-vessel occlusion stroke patients treated with edaravone. Moreover, patients with small-vessel occlusion strokes that were treated with edaravone showed significant neurological improvement during their hospital stay, although there were no significant differences in outcome one year after the stroke.

Conclusion

Edaravone treatment reduced the volume of the infarct and improved neurological deficits during the subacute period, especially in the small-vessel occlusion strokes.