Neuroprotective effects of tempol, a catalytic scavenger of peroxynitrite-derived free radicals, in a mouse traumatic brain injury model

Ying Deng-Bryant, Indrapal N. Singh, Kimberly M. Carrico, Edward D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


We examined the ability of tempol, a catalytic scavenger of peroxynitrite (PN)-derived free radicals, to reduce cortical oxidative damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, calpain-mediated cytoskeletal (α-spectrin) degradation, and neurodegeneration, and to improve behavioral recovery after a severe (depth 1.0 mm), unilateral controlled cortical impact traumatic brain injury (CCI-TBI) in male CF-1 mice. Administration of a single 300 mg/kg intraperitoneal dose of tempol 15 mins after TBI produced a complete suppression of PN-mediated oxidative damage (3-nitrotyrosine, 3NT) in injured cortical tissue at 1 h after injury. Identical tempol dosing maintained respiratory function and attenuated 3NT in isolated cortical mitochondria at 12 h after injury, the peak of mitochondrial dysfunction. Multiple dosing with tempol (300 mg/kg intraperitoneally at 15 mins, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h) also suppressed α-spectrin degradation by 45% at its 24 h post-injury peak. The same dosing regimen improved 48 h motor function and produced a significant, but limited (17.4%, P<0.05), decrease in hemispheric neurodegeneration at 7 days. These results are consistent with a mechanistic link between PN-mediated oxidative damage to brain mitochondria, calpain-mediated proteolytic damage, and neurodegeneration. However, the modest neuroprotective effect of tempol suggests that multitarget combination strategies may be needed to interfere with posttraumatic secondary injury to a degree worthy of clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1126
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 30 2008


  • Calpain
  • Controlled cortical impact
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative damage
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Tempol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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