Remote ischemic postconditioning (RIPostC) is a promising therapeutic intervention whereby brief episodes of ischemia/reperfusion of one organ (limb) mitigate damage in another organ (brain) that has experienced severe hypoxia-ischemia. Our aim was to assess whether RIPostC is protective following cerebral hypoxia-ischemia in a piglet model of neonatal encephalopathy (NE) using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) biomarkers and immunohistochemistry. After hypoxia-ischemia (HI), 16 Large White female newborn piglets were randomized to: (i) no intervention (n = 8); (ii) RIPostC - with four, 10-min cycles of bilateral lower limb ischemia/reperfusion immediately after HI (n = 8). RIPostC reduced the hypoxic-ischemic-induced increase in white matter proton MRS lactate/N acetyl aspartate (p = 0.005) and increased whole brain phosphorus-31 MRS ATP (p = 0.039) over the 48 h after HI. Cell death was reduced with RIPostC in the periventricular white matter (p = 0.03), internal capsule (p = 0.002) and corpus callosum (p = 0.021); there was reduced microglial activation in corpus callosum (p = 0.001) and more surviving oligodendrocytes in corpus callosum (p = 0.029) and periventricular white matter (p = 0.001). Changes in gene expression were detected in the white matter at 48 h, including K ATP channel and endothelin A receptor. Immediate RIPostC is a potentially safe and promising brain protective therapy for babies with NE with protection in white but not grey matter.
- Birth asphyxia
- neonatal encephalopathy
- remote ischemic postconditioning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine