Objective: Remote Ischemic Postconditioning (RIPC) is a promising therapeutic intervention wherein a sub-lethal ischemic insult induced in one organ (limb) improves ischemia in an organ distant to it (brain). The main objective of this study was to investigate the long-term functional effects of delayed RIPC in a neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) rat model.
Method: 10 day old rat pups were subjected to delayed RIPC treatment and randomized into four groups: 1) Sham, 2) HI induced, 3) HI +24 hr delayed RIPC, and 4) HI +24 hr delayed RIPC with three consecutive daily treatments. Neurobehavioral tests, brain weights, gross and microscopic brain tissue morphologies, and systemic organ weights were evaluated at five weeks post surgery.
Results: HI induced rats performed significantly worse than sham but both groups of delayed RIPC treatment showed improvement of sensory motor functions. Furthermore, compared to the HI induced group, the delayed RIPC treatment groups showed no further detrimental changes on brain tissue, both grossly and morphologically, and no changes on the systemic organ weights.
Conclusion: Delayed RIPC significantly improves long term sensory motor deficits in a neonatal HI rat model. A 24 hr delayed treatment does not significantly attenuate morphological brain injury but does attenuate sensory motor deficits. Sensory motor deficits improve with both a single treatment and with three consecutive daily treatments, and the consecutive treatments are possibly being more beneficial.