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Keywords:

  • basal lamina;
  • collagen type IV;
  • focal cerebral ischemia;
  • microvascular system;
  • rat;
  • statins

Abstract

Transient ischemia has been shown to damage the basal lamina of the cerebral microvasculature. Other studies proved statins to be beneficial to non-cerebral microvessels. The aim of this study was to determine whether pravastatin pretreatment ameliorates microvascular basal lamina damage following transient ischemia. Using the suture model, we subjected 15 rats to focal ischemia (3 h) and reperfusion (24 h). Rats received pravastatin (20 mg/kg/day) or saline for 4 weeks prior to the experiment. The outcome was determined by a behavior test and the infarct size. Collagen type IV, a marker for an intact basal lamina, and hemoglobin extravasation were measured by Western blot analysis. A ratio (in percentage) between ischemic and contralateral hemispheres was calculated. Pravastatin pretreatment resulted in a significantly better neurological outcome and reduced infarct size (15 ± 0.5 and 59 ± 10 mm3, respectively) compared with controls (12.25 ± 0.4 and 167 ± 13 mm3, respectively, P < 0.01 for both). In controls, loss of collagen type IV was seen in the basal ganglia and in the cortex (43 ± 4 and 64 ± 5%, respectively). Pravastatin prevented significant collagen loss (basal ganglia: 106 ± 17%; cortex: 112 ± 14%, P < 0.01 for both) and significantly reduced the hemoglobin extravasation compared with controls in the basal ganglia (198 ± 49 vs. 553 ± 47%, P < 0.01). Pravastatin pretreatment resulted in a reduction of microvascular basal lamina damage and hemoglobin extravasation following transient ischemia. Pravastatin seems to protect the cerebral microvascular system.