C-Phycocyanin is neuroprotective against global cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in gerbils

Brain Res Bull. 2011 Aug 10;86(1-2):42-52. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2011.05.016. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Although the huge economic and social impact and the predicted incidence increase, neuroprotection for ischemic stroke remains as a therapeutically empty niche. In the present study, we investigated the rationale of the C-Phycocyanin (C-PC) treatment on global cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in gerbils. We demonstrated that C-PC given either prophylactically or therapeutically was able to significantly reduce the infarct volume as assessed by triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining and the neurological deficit score 24h post-stroke. In addition, C-PC exhibited a protective effect against hippocampus neuronal cell death, and significantly improved the functional outcome (locomotor behavior) and gerbil survival after 7 days of reperfusion. Malondialdehyde (MDA), peroxidation potential (PP) and ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) were assayed in serum and brain homogenates to evaluate the redox status 24h post-stroke. The treatment with C-PC prevented the lipid peroxidation and the increase of FRAP in both tissue compartments. These results suggest that the protective effects of C-PC are most likely due to its antioxidant activity, although its anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory properties reported elsewhere could also contribute to neuroprotection. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the neuroprotective effect of C-PC in an experimental model of global cerebral I/R damage, and strongly indicates that C-PC may represent a potential preventive and acute disease modifying pharmacological agent for stroke therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain Ischemia / mortality
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Gerbillinae
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phycocyanin / pharmacology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Survival Rate


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phycocyanin
  • Malondialdehyde