Injections of vehicle, but not cyclosporin A or tacrolimus (FK506), afford neuroprotection following injury in the developing rat brain
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Susceptibility of the injured rat brain to seizures depends on the developmental stage at which the injury had been inflicted. Our previous study shows that tacrolimus (FK506) and cyclosporin A (CsA) applied following the injury can also decrease or increase the seizure susceptibility in an age-dependent way. To find possible neuronal substrates of the effects, we examined influences of the agents on the injured brain and on its neuronal population. Rat brains were mechanically injured on postnatal days 6 (P6) or 30 (P30). Twenty minutes and 24 hours following the injury, FK506 or CsA were injected in clinically used pharmaceutical formulations (Prograf or Sandimmun, respectively). The brains were fixed on postnatal day 60 and processed for histological examinations. To detect if negative effects of the injury could be abolished by the treatments, we examined the brain weight, the size of the injured region, and the nerve cell density, including the density of calretinin- and parvalbumin-immunopositive cells. We have found that long-term effects of treatments with the FK506- and CsA-containing pharmaceutical formulations were never better than those of the vehicle alone (Cremophor and ethanol mixture). Moreover, the treatments could even amplify negative consequences of the injury alone. It could, therefore, be concluded that all the neuroprotective effects observed in the present study resulted exclusively from the influence of the vehicle alone. These effects of the brain injury and of subsequent treatments performed at different developmental stages were considered as possible determinants of further increase or decrease in susceptibility to seizures observed in adulthood.
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Z. Setkowicz, Department of Neuroanatomy, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, 6 Ingardena St., 30-060 Krakow, Poland