Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in the perinatal period is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Presently, there are no proven effective therapies with which to safeguard the human neonatal brain against this type of injury. Minocycline, a semisynthetic tetracycline, has been shown to be neuroprotective in certain adult ischemic injury/stroke and neurodegenerative disease models. However, minocycline's neuroprotective effects have not been assessed after insults to the neonatal brain. We now report that minocycline administered either immediately before or immediately after a hypoxicischemic insult substantially blocks tissue damage in a rodent model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Minocycline treatment prevents the formation of activated caspase-3, a known effector of apoptosis, as well as the appearance of a calpain cleaved substrate, a marker of excitotoxic/necrotic cell death. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a systemic treatment that can be administered after a hypoxic-ischemic insult, which provides robust, nearly complete neuroprotection to the developing brain. Our data suggest that minocycline or a related neuroprotective tetracycline may be a candidate to consider in human clinical trials to protect the developing brain against hypoxic-ischemic-induced damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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