Therapeutic window analysis of the neuroprotective effects of cyclosporine a after traumatic brain injury

Patrick G. Sullivan, Andrea H. Sebastian, Edward D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a pivotal role in secondary cell death mechanisms following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Several reports have demonstrated that inhibition of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore with the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine A (CsA) is efficacious. Accordingly, CsA is being moved forward into late-stage clinical trials for the treatment of moderate and severe TBI. However, several unknowns exist concerning the optimal therapeutic window for administering CsA at the proposed dosages to be used in human studies. The present study utilized a moderate (1.75 mm) unilateral controlled cortical impact model of TBI to determine the most efficacious therapeutic window for initiating CsA therapy. Rats were administered an IP dose of CsA (20 mg/kg) or vehicle at 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 h post-injury. Immediately following the initial IP dose, osmotic mini-pumps were implanted at these time points to deliver 10 mg/kg/d of CsA or vehicle. Seventy-two hours following the initiation of treatment the pumps were removed to stop CsA administration. Quantitative analysis of cortical tissue sparing 7 days post-injury revealed that CsA treatment initiated at any of the post-injury initiation times out to 8 h resulted in significantly less cortical damage compared to animals receiving vehicle treatment. However, earlier treatment begun in the first 3 h was significantly more protective than that begun at 4 and 8 h. Treatment initiated at 1 h post-injury (∼68% decrease) was not significantly different than that seen at 3 h (∼46% decrease), but resulted in significantly greater cortical tissue sparing compared to CsA treatment initiated at least 4 h post-injury (28% decrease). Together these results illustrate the importance of initiating therapeutic interventions such as CsA as soon as possible following TBI, preferably within 4 h post-injury, to achieve the best possible neuroprotective effect. However, the drug appears to retain some protective efficacy even when initiated as late as 8 h post-injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-318
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • brain injury
  • cortical contusion
  • cyclosporine
  • cyclosporine A
  • mitochondrial permeability transition
  • neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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