To investigate the effects of vasoactive intestinal peptide on the blood brain barrier function after focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
Rats were intracerebroventricular injected with vasoactive intestinal peptide after a two hours middle cerebral artery occlusion. Functional outcome was studied with the neurological severity score. The brain edema and the infarction were evaluated via histology. The blood brain barrier permeability was assessed using Evans Blue dye injection method. We also measure the apoptosis of brain microvascular endothelial cells and brain levels of B-cell leukemia-2 protein by immunohistochemical analysis and western blotting, respectively.
In contrast to the cases treated with vehicle at 72 h after middle cerebral artery occlusion, the treatment with vasoactive intestinal peptide significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the neurological severity score, the brain edema and infarct volume. The Evans Blue leakage and brain water content were obviously reduced (P < 0.05) in vasoactive intestinal peptide-treated rats compared with those of control rats at 72 and 96 h after stroke. In addition, vasoactive intestinal peptide decreased the numbers of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-nick end labeling positive endothelial cells and increased the protein levels of B-cell leukemia-2 in the ischemic hemisphere at 72 h after ischemia.
Our data suggest that treatment with vasoactive intestinal peptide ameliorates the blood brain barrier function, contributing to reduce in brain damage both morphologically and functionally in the ischemic rat. This amelioration may be associated with attenuation in apoptosis of brain microvascular endothelial cells by increased B-cell leukemia-2 expression.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.