The administration of massive doses of heprain has been demonstrated to reduce reperfusion injury. The authors have found that heparin's antileukocyte adhesion property may play a more important role than its anticoagulant property in preventing ischemia and reperfusion injury. Although the administration of massive doses of heparin has been demonstrated to reduce brain injury after ischemia and reperfusion, the optimum dosage and timing for heparin administration remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the dose-response effect and determine the time during which heparin must be administered to inhibit leukocyte accumulation, reduce infarct size, and improve neurological outcome in rats subjected to 1 hour of cerebral ischemia and 48 hours of reperfusion. Forty-nine animals were included in the study. The animals receiving commercial heparin at a total dose of 2.67 to 4 mg/kg showed a significant inhibition of leukocyte accumulation, reduced infarct size, and lessened neurological dysfunction 48 hours after reperfusion (p < 0.05) when compared to untreated animals. The animals receiving unfractionated heparin with 3 hours after reperfusion also showed significantly better results than untreated animals. These data indicate that standard doses of heparin prevent reperfusion injury, and relatively late postischemic administration of heparin also is effective in brain protection. These findings may have therapeutic potential as an adjunct to thrombolytic therapy and possibly for the other perfusion deficiencies with leukocyte-endothelial interaction. In view of these encouraging experimental findings, the clinical application of heparin administration after ischemia and reperfusion warrants serious consideration.
- adhesion molecule
- cerebral ischemia