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Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Neurological Disorders

Ex Vivo and In Vivo Neuroprotection Induced by Argon When Given after an Excitotoxic or Ischemic Insult
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Author: Hélène N. David et al.

by Hélène N. David, Benoît Haelewyn, Mickael Degoulet, Denis G. Colomb, Jean-Jacques Risso, Jacques H. Abraini

In vitro studies have well established the neuroprotective action of the noble gas argon. However, only limited data from in vivo models are available, and particularly whether postexcitotoxic or postischemic argon can provide neuroprotection in vivo still remains to be demonstrated. Here, we investigated the possible neuroprotective effect of postexcitotoxic-postischemic argon both ex vivo in acute brain slices subjected to ischemia in the form of oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD), and in vivo in rats subjected to an intrastriatal injection of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) or to the occlusion of middle-cerebral artery (MCAO). We show that postexcitotoxic-postischemic argon reduces OGD-induced cell injury in brain slices, and further reduces NMDA-induced brain damage and MCAO-induced cortical brain damage in rats. Contrasting with its beneficial effect at the cortical level, we show that postischemic argon increases MCAO-induced subcortical brain damage and provides no improvement of neurologic outcome as compared to control animals. These results extend previous data on the neuroprotective action of argon. Particularly, taken together with previous in vivo data that have shown that intraischemic argon has neuroprotective action at both the cortical and subcortical level, our findings on postischemic argon suggest that this noble gas could be administered during but not after ischemia, i.e. before but not after reperfusion has occurred, in order to provide cortical neuroprotection and to avoid increasing subcortical brain damage. Also, the effects of argon are discussed as regards to the oxygen-like chemical, pharmacological, and physical properties of argon.