Ischemic stroke is a significant health problem affecting over 6 million people in the United States alone. In addition to surgical and thrombolytic therapeutic strategies for stroke, neuroprotective therapies may offer additional benefit. N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) are signaling lipids whose synthesis is upregulated in response to ischemia, suggesting that they may be neuroprotective. To date only three NAEs, arachidonylethanolamide (NAE 20:4), palmitoylethanolamide (NAE 16:0) and oleoylethanolamide (NAE 18:1) have shown to exert neuroprotective effect in animal models for stroke. Here, we describe neuroprotective effects of the hitherto uncharacterized NAEs, lauroylethanolamide (NAE 12:0) and linoleoylethanolamide (NAE 18:2) in a middle cerebral artery occlusion model of stroke. Pretreatment with NAE 18:2 prior to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury resulted in both significantly reduced cortical infarct volume and improved functional outcome as determined using the neurological deficit score. NAE 12:0 improved neurological deficits without a significant reduction lesion size. Our results suggest that NAEs, as a whole, provide neuroprotection during I/R injury and may have therapeutic benefit when used as complementary treatment with other therapies to improve stroke outcome.
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