Stroke is caused by vascular dysfunction and currently there are no effective therapeutics to stroke induced brain damage. In contrast to an intense emphasis on neuroprotection, relatively few studies have addressed means of vascular protection in cerebral ischemia. Here we discovered that the ligand to immidazolin receptor, 2-BFI, not only provided potent neuroprotection during middle cerebral artery occlusion in rat, which confirmed our previous reports, but also protected the integrity of the cerebral vasculature. Treatment with 2-BFI twice daily after the occlusion of the middle cerebral artery for 14 d significantly improved the neurological deficits, reduced brain infarction, and importantly, protected the cerebral vasculature as evidenced by the increased expression of an endothelial marker, von Willebrand factor, and better preservation of the cerebral vasculature, as viewed under a confocal microscope on rat brain perfused with FITC-labeled dextran. These results indicated that 2-BFI contributes to protection of neurovasculature. Understanding the molecular mechanisms could eventually lead to development of more effective therapies for stroke.
Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.