Background and purpose: Treatment of ischemic stroke by activation of endogenous plasminogen using tissue plasminogen activator is limited by bleeding side effects. In mice, treatment of experimental ischemic stroke with activated protein C improves outcomes; however, activated protein C also has bleeding side effects. In contrast, activation of endogenous protein C using thrombin mutant W215A/E217A (WE) is antithrombotic without hemostasis impairment in primates. Therefore, we investigated the outcome of WE-treated experimental ischemic stroke in mice.
Methods: The middle cerebral artery was occluded with a filament for 60 minutes to induce ischemic stroke. Vehicle, recombinant WE, or tissue plasminogen activator was administered during middle cerebral artery occlusion or 2 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Neurological performance was scored daily. Intracranial bleeding and cerebral infarct size, defined by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride exclusion, were determined on autopsy. Hemostasis was evaluated using tail bleeding tests.
Results: WE improved neurological performance scores, increased laser Doppler flowmetry-monitored post-middle cerebral artery occlusion reperfusion of the parietal cortex, and reduced 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride-defined cerebral infarct size versus vehicle controls. However, unlike tissue plasminogen activator, WE did not increase tail bleeding or intracranial hemorrhage.
Conclusions: WE treatment is neuroprotective without hemostasis impairment in experimental acute ischemic stroke in mice and thus may provide an alternative to tissue plasminogen activator for stroke treatment.