Delayed administration of a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor limits progressive brain injury after hypoxia-ischemia in the neonatal rat

Christopher C. Leonardo, Autumn K. Eakin, Joanne M. Ajmo, Lisa A. Collier, Keith R. Pennypacker, Alex Y. Strongin, Paul E. Gottschall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background: Hypoxia-ischemia (H-I) can produce widespread neurodegeneration and deep cerebral white matter injury in the neonate. Resident microglia and invading leukocytes promote lesion progression by releasing reactive oxygen species, proteases and other pro-inflammatory mediators. After injury, expression of the gelatin-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-2 and MMP-9, are thought to result in the proteolysis of extracellular matrix (ECM), activation of cytokines/ chemokines, and the loss of vascular integrity. Thus, therapies targeting ECM degradation and progressive neuroinflammation may be beneficial in reducing H-I - induced neuropathy. Minocycline has MMP-inhibitory properties and is both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. AG3340 (prinomastat) is an MMP inhibitor with high selectivity for the gelatinases. The purpose of this study was to determine whether these compounds could limit H-I - induced injury when administered at a delayed time point. Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to H-I at postnatal day 7 (P7), consisting of unilateral carotid artery ligation followed by 90 min exposure to 8% O2. Minocycline, AG3340, or vehicle were administered once daily for 6 days, beginning 24 hours after insult. Animals were sacrificed at P14 for neurohistological assessments. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine the degree of reactive astrogliosis and immune cell activation/recruitment. Neural injury was detected using the Fluoro-Jade stain, a marker that identifies degenerating cells. Results: CD11b and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunopositive cells increased in ipsilateral cortex after treatment with vehicle alone, demonstrating microglia/macrophage recruitment and reactive astrogliosis, respectively. Fluoro-Jade staining was markedly increased throughout the fronto-parietal cortex, striatum and hippocampus. Treatment with minocycline or AG3340 inhibited microglia/macrophage recruitment, attenuated astrogliosis and reduced Fluoro-Jade staining when compared to vehicle alone. Conclusion: The selective gelatinase inhibitor AG3340 showed equal efficacy in reducing neural injury and dampening neuroinflammation when compared to the anti-inflammatory compound minocycline. Thus, MMP-2 and MMP-9 may be viable therapeutic targets to treat neonatal brain injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
StatePublished - Aug 11 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by Shriners Research Grant 8560 and American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid 0555216B (P.E.G.). AG3340 was kindly provided by Dr. Peter Baciu.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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