Chlorpromazine protects brain tissue in hypoxia by delaying spreading depression-mediated calcium influx.
We have investigated the possible protective effect of chlorpromazine in hypoxia of brain tissue, using rat hippocampal slices maintained at 35-36 degrees C. The recovery of synaptic transmission along the Schaffer collaterals to the CA1 pathway after 9 min hypoxia was compared in chlorpromazine-treated and in control slices. Recovery upon reoxygenation was the exception in control slices, while it was observed in approximately 50 and 100% of slices treated with 7 and 70 microM chlorpromazine, respectively. Chlorpromazine also significantly delayed the occurrence of the hypoxia-induced spreading depression (SD). Recovery took place when SD occurred late during hypoxia, not when it occurred early. In those slices in which 7 microM chlorpromazine afforded no protection, SD occurred as early as it did in control slices. In further experiments, we deliberately induced SD during hypoxia in 70 microM-treated slices by topically applying a drop of high-K+ artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF). Recovery was not observed when SD was induced early, but it was observed when it was induced near the end of the hypoxic period. Slices exposed to the same period of hypoxia in Ca2+-free ACSF recovered synaptic transmission (even without chlorpromazine treatment) despite early induction of SD. We conclude that: chlorpromazine protects brain tissue from hypoxia-induced irreversible loss of synaptic transmission; it does so by delaying the occurrence of SD, and hence shortening the time spent in the SD-induced depolarized state; and the harm done by SD in hypoxia is related to the influx of Ca2+ into neurons.
Balestrino, M; Somjen, GG
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