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      Systematic review and stratified meta-analysis of the efficacy of carnosine in animal models of ischemic stroke

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          Carnosine is a naturally occurring pleotropic dipeptide which influences multiple deleterious mechanisms that are activated during stroke. Numerous published studies have reported that carnosine has robust efficacy in ischemic stroke models. To further evaluate these data, we have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies. We included publications describing in vivo models of ischemic stroke where the neuroprotective efficacy of carnosine was being evaluated through the reporting of infarct volume and/or neurological score as outcomes. Overall efficacy was evaluated using weighted mean difference random effects meta-analysis. We also evaluated for study quality and publication bias. We identified eight publications that met our inclusion criteria describing a total of 29 comparisons and 454 animals. Overall methodological quality of studies was moderate (median = 4/9). Carnosine reduced infarct volume by 29.4% (95% confidence interval (CI), 24.0% to 34.9%; 29 comparisons). A clear dose-response effect was observed, and efficacy was reduced when carnosine was administered more than 6 h after ischemia. Our findings suggest that carnosine administered before or after the onset of ischemia exhibits robust efficacy in experimental ischemic stroke. However, the methodological quality of some of the studies was low and testing occurred only in healthy young male animals.

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          The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration.

          Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarize evidence relating to efficacy and safety of health care interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, is not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users. Since the development of the QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analysis) Statement-a reporting guideline published in 1999-there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realizing these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions. The PRISMA Statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this Explanation and Elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA Statement, this document, and the associated Web site ( should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
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            Update of the stroke therapy academic industry roundtable preclinical recommendations.

            The initial Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) recommendations published in 1999 were intended to improve the quality of preclinical studies of purported acute stroke therapies. Although recognized as reasonable, they have not been closely followed nor rigorously validated. Substantial advances have occurred regarding the appropriate quality and breadth of preclinical testing for candidate acute stroke therapies for better clinical translation. The updated STAIR preclinical recommendations reinforce the previous suggestions that reproducibly defining dose response and time windows with both histological and functional outcomes in multiple animal species with appropriate physiological monitoring is appropriate. The updated STAIR recommendations include: the fundamentals of good scientific inquiry should be followed by eliminating randomization and assessment bias, a priori defining inclusion/exclusion criteria, performing appropriate power and sample size calculations, and disclosing potential conflicts of interest. After initial evaluations in young, healthy male animals, further studies should be performed in females, aged animals, and animals with comorbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. Another consideration is the use of clinically relevant biomarkers in animal studies. Although the recommendations cannot be validated until effective therapies based on them emerge from clinical trials, it is hoped that adherence to them might enhance the chances for success.
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              Pooling of animal experimental data reveals influence of study design and publication bias.

              The extensive neuroprotective literature describing the efficacy of candidate drugs in focal ischemia has yet to lead to the development of effective stroke treatments. Ideally, the choice of drugs taken forward to clinical trial should be based on an unbiased assessment of all available data. Such an assessment might include not only the efficacy of a drug but also the in vivo characteristics and limits--in terms of time window, dose, species, and model of ischemia used--to that efficacy. To our knowledge, such assessments have not been made. Nicotinamide is a candidate neuroprotective drug with efficacy in experimental stroke, but the limits to and characteristics of that efficacy have not been fully described. Systematic review and modified meta-analysis of studies of experimental stroke describing the efficacy of nicotinamide. The search strategy ensured ascertainment of studies published in full and those published in abstract only. DerSimonian and Laird random effects meta-analysis was used to account for heterogeneity between studies. Nicotinamide improved outcome by 0.287 (95% confidence interval 0.227 to 0.347); it was more effective in temporary ischemia models, after intravenous administration, in animals without comorbidities, and in studies published in full rather than in abstract. Studies scoring highly on a quality measure gave more precise estimates of the global effect. Meta-analysis provides an effective technique for the aggregation of data from experimental stroke studies. We propose new standards for reporting such studies and a systematic approach to aggregating data from the neuroprotective literature.

                Author and article information

                J Cereb Blood Flow Metab
                J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab
                Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                08 July 2016
                October 2016
                : 36
                : 10
                : 1686-1694
                [1 ]School of Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, India
                [2 ]Statistical Services Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
                [3 ]Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
                [4 ]Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
                Author notes
                GK Rajanikant, National Institute of Technology Calicut, NITC Campus P.O., Calicut, Kerala 673601, India. Email: rajanikant@ Arshad Majid, Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), University of Sheffield, 385A Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2HQ, UK. Email: arshad.majid@
                © The Author(s) 2016

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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                systematic review, carnosine, ischemic stroke, meta-analysis, neuroprotection


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