Pentoxifylline reduces injury of the brain in transient ischaemia

Acta Cardiol. 1998;53(2):89-95.


Objective: The beneficial effect of pentoxifylline (PTX) on ischaemic-reperfusion injury was assessed in a rat model of transient global cerebral ischaemia.

Design: Randomized, controlled, prospective study.

Setting: University research laboratory.

Subjects: Thirty-six male Wistar albino rats.

Interventions: Ischaemia was induced with a four-vessel occlusion technique in 24 animals with the duration of 15 minutes. Group 1 animals (n = 12) received PTX treatment started 20 minutes before the occlusion of carotid arteries (60 mg/kg bolus followed by infusion at 0.1 mg/kg/min). A similar volume of saline solution was used in animals of the control group (group 2, n = 12). The animals in group 3 (sham group, n = 12) were anaesthetized and subjected to operative dissections without vascular occlusion.

Measurements: Physiological parameters and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) were monitored in animals before ischaemia, during ischaemia and in the first 30 minutes of reperfusion. Their neurological outcome had been clinically evaluated and scored up to 4 days post ischaemia. The intergroup differences were compared. Then the animals were sacrificed and their brains were processed for histopathological examination.

Main results: In group 3, SEP amplitudes did not change during the procedures, and all animals recovered without neurologic deficits. At the end of the ischaemic period, the average amplitude was reduced to 4 +/- 3% of the baseline in all ischaemic animals. This was followed by a gradual return to 92 +/- 9% and 82 +/- 8% of the initial amplitude after 30 minutes of reperfusion in group 1 and group 2, respectively (p < 0.05). The average neurological score was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 in the post-ischaemia period (p < 0.05). Histological observations were clearly correlated with the neurological findings.

Conclusion: The results suggest that PTX reduces cerebral injury and preserves neurologic function in transient global ischaemia in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / pathology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Pentoxifylline / pharmacology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology*
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Pentoxifylline