Infarct Evolution on MR-DWI After Thrombectomy in Acute Stroke Patients Randomized to Nerinetide or Placebo: The REPERFUSE-NA1 Study

Neurology. 2024 Jan 23;102(2):e207976. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207976. Epub 2023 Dec 22.


Background and objectives: The neuroprotectant nerinetide has shown promise in reducing infarct volumes in primate models of ischemia reperfusion. We hypothesized that early secondary infarct growth after endovascular therapy (EVT) (1) may be a suitable surrogate biomarker for testing neuroprotective compounds, (2) is feasible to assess in the acute setting using sequential MRI, and (3) can be modified by treatment with nerinetide.

Methods: REPERFUSE-NA1 was a prospective, multisite MRI substudy of the randomized controlled trial ESCAPE-NA1 ( NCT02930018) that involved patients with acute disabling large vessel occlusive stroke undergoing EVT within 12 hours of onset who were randomized to receive intravenous nerinetide or placebo. Patients enrolled in REPERFUSE-NA1 underwent sequential MRI <5 hours post-EVT (day 1) and at 24 hours (day 2). The primary outcome was total diffusion-weighted MRI infarct growth early after EVT, defined as the lesion volume difference between day 2 and day 1. The secondary outcome was region-specific infarct growth in different brain tissue compartments. Statistical analyses were performed using the Mann-Whitney U test and multiple linear regression.

Results: Sixty-seven of 71 patients included had MRI of sufficient quality. The median infarct volume post-EVT was 12.98 mL (IQR, 5.93-28.08) in the nerinetide group and 10.80 mL (IQR, 3.11-24.45) in the control group (p = 0.59). Patients receiving nerinetide showed a median early secondary infarct growth of 5.92 mL (IQR, 1.09-21.30) compared with 10.80 mL (interquartile range [IQR], 2.54-21.81) in patients with placebo (p = 0.30). Intravenous alteplase modified the effect of nerinetide on region-specific infarct growth in white matter and basal ganglia compartments. In patients with no alteplase, the infarct growth rate was reduced by 120% (standard error [SE], 60%) in the white matter (p = 0.03) and by 340% (SE, 140%) in the basal ganglia (p = 0.02) in the nerinetide group compared with placebo after adjusting for confounders.

Discussion: This study highlights the potential of using MR imaging as a biomarker to estimate the effect of a neuroprotective agent in acute stroke treatment. Patients with acute large vessel occlusive stroke exhibited appreciable early infarct growth both in the gray matter and the white matter after undergoing EVT. Acknowledging relatively small overall infarct volumes in this study, treatment with nerinetide was associated with slightly reduced percentage infarct growth in the white matter and basal ganglia compared with placebo in patients not receiving intravenous alteplase and had no effect on the total early secondary infarct growth.

Trial registration information: NCT02930018.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with acute large vessel ischemic stroke undergoing EVT, nerinetide did not significantly decrease early post-EVT infarct growth compared with placebo.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Infarction
  • Ischemic Stroke*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke* / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke* / drug therapy
  • Stroke* / surgery
  • Thrombectomy
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator


  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Biomarkers

Associated data