We studied the efficacy of postischemic, systemic treatment with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists dextromethorphan and dextrorphan in a rabbit model of transient focal cerebral ischemia. Twenty-two rabbits underwent 1-hour occlusion of the left internal carotid and anterior cerebral arteries followed by 4.5 hours of reperfusion before sacrifice. One hour after the onset of ischemia, immediately after removing the arterial clips, the rabbits were blindly assigned to treatment with dextromethorphan (20 mg/kg i.v. loading dose followed by 10 mg/kg/hr maintenance infusion, n = 7), dextrorphan (15 mg/kg i.v. loading dose followed by 15 mg/kg/hr maintenance infusion, n = 7), or an equivalent volume of normal saline alone (n = 8). The maintenance infusion of drugs or saline was continued for the duration of the experiment. The formalin-fixed brains were analyzed with magnetic resonance imaging using coronal T2-weighted images, and ischemic neuronal damage was assessed on standard coronal hematoxylin-and- eosin-stained sections. The area of neocortical ischemic neuronal damage was significantly reduced in the groups treated with dextromethorphan (4.2%, p less than 0.01) and dextrorphan (6.1%, p less than 0.01) compared with the controls (36.2%). Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated significantly smaller areas of cortical edema in the groups treated with dextromethorphan (14.6%, p less than 0.01) and dextrorphan (8.0%, p less than 0.01) compared with the controls (32.9%). These clinically tested antitussives with NMDA-antagonist properties may have therapeutic value in the treatment of human cerebrovascular disease.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989AP80900019
View details for PubMedID 2672427