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      Systemic administration of urocortin after intracerebral hemorrhage reduces neurological deficits and neuroinflammation in rats

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          Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) remains a serious clinical problem lacking effective treatment. Urocortin (UCN), a novel anti-inflammatory neuropeptide, protects injured cardiomyocytes and dopaminergic neurons. Our preliminary studies indicate UCN alleviates ICH-induced brain injury when administered intracerebroventricularly (ICV). The present study examines the therapeutic effect of UCN on ICH-induced neurological deficits and neuroinflammation when administered by the more convenient intraperitoneal (i.p.) route.


          ICH was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by intrastriatal infusion of bacterial collagenase VII-S or autologous blood. UCN (2.5 or 25 μg/kg) was administered i.p. at 60 minutes post-ICH. Penetration of i.p. administered fluorescently labeled UCN into the striatum was examined by fluorescence microscopy. Neurological deficits were evaluated by modified neurological severity score (mNSS). Brain edema was assessed using the dry/wet method. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption was assessed using the Evans blue assay. Hemorrhagic volume and lesion volume were assessed by Drabkin's method and morphometric assay, respectively. Pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) expression was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Microglial activation and neuronal loss were evaluated by immunohistochemistry.


          Administration of UCN reduced neurological deficits from 1 to 7 days post-ICH. Surprisingly, although a higher dose (25 μg/kg, i.p.) also reduced the functional deficits associated with ICH, it is significantly less effective than the lower dose (2.5 μg/kg, i.p.). Beneficial results with the low dose of UCN included a reduction in neurological deficits from 1 to 7 days post-ICH, as well as a reduction in brain edema, BBB disruption, lesion volume, microglial activation and neuronal loss 3 days post-ICH, and suppression of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 production 1, 3 and 7 days post-ICH.


          Systemic post-ICH treatment with UCN reduces striatal injury and neurological deficits, likely via suppression of microglial activation and inflammatory cytokine production. The low dose of UCN necessary and the clinically amenable peripheral route make UCN a potential candidate for development into a clinical treatment regimen.

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          Most cited references 58

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          Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage.

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            Early surgery versus initial conservative treatment in patients with spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haematomas in the International Surgical Trial in Intracerebral Haemorrhage (STICH): a randomised trial.

            Spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haemorrhage accounts for 20% of all stroke-related sudden neurological deficits, has the highest morbidity and mortality of all stroke, and the role of surgery remains controversial. We undertook a prospective randomised trial to compare early surgery with initial conservative treatment for patients with intracerebral haemorrhage. A parallel-group trial design was used. Early surgery combined haematoma evacuation (within 24 h of randomisation) with medical treatment. Initial conservative treatment used medical treatment, although later evacuation was allowed if necessary. We used the eight-point Glasgow outcome scale obtained by postal questionnaires sent directly to patients at 6 months follow-up as the primary outcome measure. We divided the patients into good and poor prognosis groups on the basis of their clinical status at randomisation. For the good prognosis group, a favourable outcome was defined as good recovery or moderate disability on the Glasgow outcome scale. For the poor prognosis group, a favourable outcome also included the upper level of severe disability. Analysis was by intention to treat. 1033 patients from 83 centres in 27 countries were randomised to early surgery (503) or initial conservative treatment (530). At 6 months, 51 patients were lost to follow-up, and 17 were alive with unknown status. Of 468 patients randomised to early surgery, 122 (26%) had a favourable outcome compared with 118 (24%) of 496 randomised to initial conservative treatment (odds ratio 0.89 [95% CI 0.66-1.19], p=0.414); absolute benefit 2.3% (-3.2 to 7.7), relative benefit 10% (-13 to 33). Patients with spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haemorrhage in neurosurgical units show no overall benefit from early surgery when compared with initial conservative treatment.
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              Distribution of mRNAs encoding CRF receptors in brain and pituitary of rat and mouse.

              Two G protein-coupled receptors have been identified that bind corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and urocortin (UCN) with high affinity. Hybridization histochemical methods were used to shed light on controversies concerning their localization in rat brain, and to provide normative distributional data in mouse, the standard model for genetic manipulation in mammals. The distribution of CRF-R1 mRNA in mouse was found to be fundamentally similar to that in rat, with expression predominating in the cerebral cortex, sensory relay nuclei, and in the cerebellum and its major afferents. Pronounced species differences in distribution were few, although more subtle variations in the relative strength of R1 expression were seen in several forebrain regions. CRF-R2 mRNA displayed comparable expression in rat and mouse brain, distinct from, and more restricted than that of CRF-R1. Major neuronal sites of CRF-R2 expression included aspects of the olfactory bulb, lateral septal nucleus, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus, medial and posterior cortical nuclei of the amygdala, ventral hippocampus, mesencephalic raphe nuclei, and novel localizations in the nucleus of the solitary tract and area postrema. Several sites of expression in the limbic forebrain were found to overlap partially with ones of androgen receptor expression. In pituitary, rat and mouse displayed CRF-R1 mRNA signal continuously over the intermediate lobe and over a subset of cells in the anterior lobe, whereas CRF-R2 transcripts were expressed mainly in the posterior lobe. The distinctive expression pattern of CRF-R2 mRNA identifies additional putative central sites of action for CRF and/or UCN. Constitutive expression of CRF-R2 mRNA in the nucleus of the solitary tract, and stress-inducible expression of CRF-R1 transcripts in the paraventricular nucleus may provide a basis for understanding documented effects of CRF-related peptides at a loci shown previously to lack a capacity for CRF-R expression or CRF binding. Other such "mismatches" remain to be reconciled. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

                Author and article information

                J Neuroinflammation
                Journal of Neuroinflammation
                BioMed Central
                19 January 2012
                : 9
                : 13
                [1 ]Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
                [2 ]Department of Medical Research, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan
                [3 ]Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
                [4 ]Department of Emergency Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan
                [5 ]School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
                [6 ]Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
                Copyright ©2012 Liew et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



                intracerebral hemorrhage, anti-neuroinflammation, urocortin, brain edema


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