In this study, we investigated the effect of Daio-Orengedoku-to (DOT) on ischemic brain damage in a rat model of focal ischemia-reperfusion and attempted to identify synergistic effects for the combination of edaravone and DOT against ischemic insult. Ischemia was induced by intraluminal occlusion of the right middle cerebral artery for 2 h and reperfusion followed for 22 h. To determine the neuroprotective effect of DOT, it was administered orally just before reperfusion and then 2 h after reperfusion. To examine the effects of combination therapy on survival, rats were divided into groups treated with edaravone, DOT, and edaravone and DOT. Microglial activation, neutrophil infiltration and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression were examined in surviving animals. Infarct volume was significantly reduced by DOT (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg; P < 0.05), and edaravone plus DOT markedly improved the survival rate after transient ischemia (P = 0.0133). Microglial activation was reduced by edaravone and DOT and their combination (P < 0.05), and neutrophil infiltration was lowered in these groups (P < 0.05). BDNF-positive cells were increased in the combination edaravone and DOT group (P < 0.05). It appears that the neuroprotective mechanisms of combined therapy involve inhibition of microglial activation, reduction of invading neutrophils and enhancement of BDNF expression.
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