Pravastatin acute neuroprotective effects depend on blood brain barrier integrity in experimental cerebral ischemia.
Carone D., Librizzi L., Cattalini A., Sala G., Conti E., Cuccione E., Versace A., Cai R., Monza L., de Curtis M., Ferrarese C., Beretta S.
Statins have since long been reported to exert acute neuroprotection in experimental stroke models. However, crucial questions still need to be addressed as far as the timing of their cerebral effects after intravascular administration and the role played by the blood brain barrier (BBB) crossing properties. We tested the effects of an hydrophilic statin (pravastatin, 100 nM), which poorly crosses BBB under physiological conditions. Pravastatin was administered either 90 min before or immediately after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain preparation. A multi-modal outcome assessment was performed, through electrophysiological and cerebral vascular tone recordings, MAP-2 immunohistochemistry, BBB evaluation via ZO-1/FITC-albumin analysis, AKT and ERK activation and whole-cell antioxidant capacity. Pravastatin pre-ischemic administration did not produce any significant effect. Pravastatin post-ischemic administration significantly prevented MAP-2 immunoreactivity loss in ischemic areas, increased ERK phosphorylation in the ischemic hemisphere and enhanced whole-cell antioxidant capacity. Electrophysiological parameters, vascular tone and AKT signaling were unchanged. In all tested ischemic brains, ZO-1 fragmentation and FITC albumin extravasation was observed, starting 30 min from ischemia onset, indicating loss of BBB integrity. Our findings indicate that the rapid anti-ischemic effects of intravascular pravastatin are highly dependent on BBB increased permeability after stroke.