The effect of rapamycin treatment on cerebral ischemia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of animal model studies.
Beard DJ., Hadley G., Thurley N., Howells DW., Sutherland BA., Buchan AM.
BACKGROUND: Amplifying endogenous neuroprotective mechanisms is a promising avenue for stroke therapy. One target is mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a serine/threonine kinase regulating cell proliferation, cell survival, protein synthesis, and autophagy. Animal studies investigating the effect of rapamycin on mTOR inhibition following cerebral ischemia have shown conflicting results. AIM: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effectiveness of rapamycin in reducing infarct volume in animal models of ischemic stroke. SUMMARY OF REVIEW: Our search identified 328 publications. Seventeen publications met inclusion criteria (52 comparisons: 30 reported infarct size and 22 reported neurobehavioral score). Study quality was modest (median 4 of 9) with no evidence of publication bias. The point estimate for the effect of rapamycin was a 21.6% (95% CI, 7.6%-35.7% p < 0.01) improvement in infarct volume and 30.5% (95% CI 17.2%-43.8%, p < 0.0001) improvement in neuroscores. Effect sizes were greatest in studies using lower doses of rapamycin. CONCLUSION: Low-dose rapamycin treatment may be an effective therapeutic option for stroke. Modest study quality means there is a potential risk of bias. We recommend further high-quality preclinical studies on rapamycin in stroke before progressing to clinical trials.