Surfactant poloxamer 188-related decreases in inflammation and tissue damage after experimental brain injury in rats

J Neurosurg. 2004 Aug;101(1 Suppl):91-6. doi: 10.3171/ped.2004.101.2.0091.


Object: The surfactant, poloxamer 188 (P-188), has been found to protect against tissue injury in various experimental models. Its protective mechanism may involve the effects of the surfactant against oxidative stress and inflammation. The authors investigated the role of P- 188 in the reduction of tissue injury and macrophage response in a model of excitotoxic brain injury in the rat striatum.

Methods: Fifteen Sprague-Dawley rats underwent stereotactic injection of 120 nmol of quinolinic acid into the striatum and received intracisternal injection of vehicle or P-188 (40 mg/kg) at 10 minutes and 4 hours postinjury. Rats were killed after 1 week, and the histological score was determined based on the degree of overall tissue injury (Grades 1-4) at the lesion site. The number of macrophages within the lesioned striatum was compared with that found within the striatum on the nonoperated contralateral side. The scores related to tissue damage and the macrophage ratios of each group were then compared using t-tests. Striatal injection of the toxin produced a lesion characterized by necrosis and inflammation surrounding the injection site in all six control animals. In rats in which intracisternal P-188 was administered, significantly less tissue injury was demonstrated (mean score 2.45 +/- 0.74) than in controls (mean score 3.14 +/- 0.75) (p = 0.045). The rats that received intracisternal surfactant also had significantly less macrophage infiltrate (mean ratio 1.06 +/- 0.18) than control animals (mean ratio 2.00 +/- 0.48) (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: The surfactant P-188 reduces tissue loss and macrophage infiltrate after excitotoxic brain injury in the rat. Possible mechanisms of this effect may include direct surfactant modulation of inflammatory cell membrane fluidity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Brain Injuries / veterinary
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Macrophages
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Poloxamer / administration & dosage
  • Poloxamer / pharmacology*
  • Quinolinic Acid / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Surface-Active Agents / administration & dosage
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology*


  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Poloxamer
  • Quinolinic Acid