Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Dexmedetomidine is neuroprotective in an in vitro model for traumatic brain injury

Marc Schoeler1, Philip D Loetscher1, Rolf Rossaint1, Astrid V Fahlenkamp1, Georg Eberhardt1, Steffen Rex13, Joachim Weis2 and Mark Coburn1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

2 Institute of Neuropathology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

3 Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital of the KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-20

Published: 11 April 2012

Abstract

Background

The α2-adrenoreceptor agonist dexmedetomidine is known to provide neuroprotection under ischemic conditions. In this study we investigated whether dexmedetomidine has a protective effect in an in vitro model for traumatic brain injury.

Methods

Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were subjected to a focal mechanical trauma and then exposed to varying concentrations of dexmedetomidine. After 72 h cell injury was assessed using propidium iodide. In addition, the effects of delayed dexmedetomidine application, of hypothermia and canonical signalling pathway inhibitors were examined.

Results

Dexmedetomidine showed a protective effect on traumatically injured hippocampal cells with a maximum effect at a dosage of 1 μM. This effect was partially reversed by the simultaneous administration of the ERK inhibitor PD98059.

Conclusion

In this TBI model dexmedetomidine had a significant neuroprotective effect. Our results indicate that activation of ERK might be involved in mediating this effect.

Keywords:
Neuroprotection; Traumatic brain injury; Dexmedetomidine