Neuroprotective effects of acetyl-L-carnitine after stroke in rats


Lolic MM




Ann Emerg Med


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) promotes neurologic recovery from experimental focal cerebral ischemia (stroke) in rats. METHODS: We conducted a prospective, randomized, blinded study in which adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to coagulative occlusion of the distal right middle cerebral artery (MCA) and temporary occlusion of both common carotid arteries (CCAs) for 60 minutes. After the onset of ischemia each rat was given ALCAR (200 mg/kg) or a similar volume of drug vehicle. Neurologic evaluation was performed on postoperative days 1, 2, 3, and 7. Postoperative weight loss was measured at day 7. Infarct volume was measured in separate groups of rats at 24 hours. RESULTS: Neurologic outcomes, as assessed with an 11-point neurologic deficit scoring system, were significantly improved in ALCAR-treated rats on days 1, 2, and 3 (P < .05). Improvement approached significance on day 7. Rats treated with ALCAR also demonstrated significantly less weight loss on day 7 compared with the vehicle-treated controls. We detected no differences, however, in infarct volumes measured between treatment groups. CONCLUSION: Although we noted no differences in infarct volume, postischemic treatment with ALCAR did improve early clinical recovery and prevented significant weight loss in this rat model of focal cerebral ischemia.