This study aimed to investigate whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) attenuate brain injury and facilitate recovery following photothrombotic cortical ischemia in mice. Male ICR mice were anesthetized and systemically administered Rose Bengal. Permanent focal ischemia was induced in the medial frontal and somatosensory cortices by irradiating the skull with cold light laser. The animals were treated with fluoxetine or sertraline once a day for 14 d starting 1 h after ischemic insult. Treatment with fluoxetine and sertraline significantly reduced the infarct size. The Evans blue extravasation indices of the fluoxetine- and sertraline-treated groups were significantly lower than that of the vehicle group. Treatment with fluoxetine and sertraline shifted the lower limit of the mean arterial blood pressure for cerebral blood flow autoregulation toward normal, and significantly increased the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) proteins in the ischemic region. These results suggest that SSRIs, such as fluoxetine and sertraline, facilitate recovery following photothrombotic cortical ischemia via enhancement of HO-1 and HIF-1alpha proteins expression, thereby providing a benefit in therapy of cerebral ischemia.
Keywords: Cerebral blood flow autoregulation; Focal cerebral ischemia; Heme oxygenase-1; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.