A type-II positive allosteric modulator of α7 nAChRs reduces brain Injury and Improves neurological function after focal cerebral ischemia in rats
In the absence of clinically-efficacious therapies for ischemic stroke there is a critical need for development of new therapeutic concepts and approaches for prevention of brain injury secondary to cerebral ischemia. This study tests the hypothesis that administration of PNU-120596, a type-II positive allosteric modulator (PAM-II) of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), as long as 6 hours after the onset of focal cerebral ischemia significantly reduces brain injury and neurological deficits in an animal model of ischemic stroke. Focal cerebral ischemia was induced by a transient (90 min) middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Animals were then subdivided into two groups and injected intravenously (i.v.) 6 hours post-MCAO with either 1 mg/kg PNU-120596 (treated group) or vehicle only (untreated group). Measurements of cerebral infarct volumes and neurological behavioral tests were performed 24 hrs post-MCAO. PNU-120596 significantly reduced cerebral infarct volume and improved neurological function as evidenced by the results of Bederson, rolling cylinder and ladder rung walking tests. These results forecast a high therapeutic potential for PAMs-II as effective recruiters and activators of endogenous α7 nAChR-dependent cholinergic pathways to reduce brain injury and improve neurological function after cerebral ischemic stroke.