Alpha 1-antitrypsin therapy mitigated ischemic stroke damage in rats

Huong L. Moldthan, Aaron C. Hirko, Jeffrey S. Thinschmidt, Maria B. Grant, Zhimin Li, Joanna Peris, Yuanqing Lu, Ahmed S. Elshikha, Michael A. King, Jeffrey A. Hughes, Sihong Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Our objective is to develop a new therapy for the treatment of stroke. Currently, the only effective therapy for acute ischemic stroke is the thrombolytic agent recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. α1-Antitrypsin (AAT), a serine proteinase inhibitor with potent anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, antimicrobial, and cytoprotective activities, could be beneficial in stroke. The goal of this study is to test whether AAT can improve ischemic stroke outcome in an established rat model. Middle cerebral artery occlusion was induced in male rats via intracranial (i.c.) microinjection of endothelin-1. Five to 10 minutes after stroke induction, rats received either i.c. or intravenous delivery of human AAT. Cylinder and vibrissae tests were used to evaluate sensorimotor function before and 72 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Infarct volumes were examined via either 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride assay or magnetic resonance imaging 72 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion. Despite equivalent initial strokes, at 72 hours, the infarct volumes of the human AAT treatment groups (local and systemic injection) were statistically significantly reduced by 83% and 63% (P <.0001 and P <.05, respectively) compared with control rats. Human AAT significantly limited sensory motor system deficits. Human AAT could be a potential novel therapeutic drug for the protection against neurodegeneration after ischemic stroke, but more studies are needed to investigate the protective mechanisms and efficacy in other animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e355-e363
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Ischemic stroke
  • alpha 1-antitrypsin
  • anti-inflammation
  • endothelin-1-induced MCAO
  • inflammation
  • neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Moldthan, H. L., Hirko, A. C., Thinschmidt, J. S., Grant, M. B., Li, Z., Peris, J., Lu, Y., Elshikha, A. S., King, M. A., Hughes, J. A., & Song, S. (2014). Alpha 1-antitrypsin therapy mitigated ischemic stroke damage in rats. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 23(5), e355-e363.