Molecular medicine reports

Propofol post-conditioning protects the blood brain barrier by decreasing matrix metalloproteinase-9 and aquaporin-4 expression and improves the neurobehavioral outcome in a rat model of focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury.

PMID 25849432


Propofol, an intravenous anesthetic, inhibits neuronal apoptosis induced by ischemic stroke, protects the brain from ischemia/reperfusion injury and improves neuronal function. However, whether propofol is able to protect the blood brain barrier (BBB) and the underlying mechanisms have remained to be elucidated. In the present study, a rat model of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion was established, using a thread embolism to achieve middle cerebral artery occlusion. Rats were treated with propofol (propofol post-conditioning) or physiological saline (control) administered by intravenous injection 30 min following reperfusion. Twenty-four hours following reperfusion, neurobehavioral manifestations were assessed. The levels of cephaloedema, damage to the BBB and expression levels of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), aquaporin-4 (AQP-4) and phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (pJNK) were determined in order to evaluate the effects of propofol on the BBB. In comparison to the cerebral ischemia/reperfusion group, the levels of brain water content and Evans blue content, as well as the expression levels of MMP-9, AQP-4 and pJNK were significantly reduced in the propofol post-conditioning group. These results indicated that propofol post-conditioning improved the neurobehavioral manifestations and attenuated the BBB damage and cephaloedema induced following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion. This effect may be due to the inhibition of MMP-9 and AQP-4 expression, and the concurrent decrease in JNK phosphorylation.