L-arginine and superoxide dismutase prevent or reverse cerebral hypoperfusion after fluid-percussion traumatic brain injury

Douglas S. Dewitt, Thomas G. Smith, Donald Deyo, Kimberly R. Miller, Tatsuo Uchida, Donald S. Prough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


To determine whether treatment with L-arginine or superoxide dismutase (SOD) would prove effective in reducing cerebral hypoperfusion after traumatic brain injury (TBI), we measured cerebral blood flow (CBF) using laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) in rats treated before or after moderate (2.2 atm) fluid-percussion (FP) TBI. Rats were anesthetized with isoflurane and prepared for midline FP TBI and then for LDF by thinning the calvaria using an air-cooled drill. Rats were then randomly assigned to receive sham injury, sham injury plus L-arginine (100 mg/kg, 5 min after sham TBI), TBI plus 0.9% NaCl, TBI plus L-arginine (100 mg/kg, 5 min post-TBI), TBI plus SOD (24,000 U/kg pre-TBI + 1600 units/g/min for 15 min after TBI), or TBI plus SOD and L- arginine. A second group of rats received TBI plus saline, L-, or D-arginine (100 mg/kg, 5 min after-TBI). After treatment and TBI or sham injury, CBF was measured continuously using LDF for 2 h and CBF was expressed as a percent of the preinjury baseline for 2 h after TBI. Rats treated with saline or D- arginine exhibited significant reductions in CBF that persisted throughout the monitoring period. Rats treated with L-arginine alone or in combination with SOD exhibited no decreases in CBF after TBI. CBF in the SOD-treated group decreased significantly within 15 min after TBI but returned to baseline levels by 45 min after TBI. These studies indicate that L-arginine but not D-arginine administered after TBI prevents posttraumatic hypoperfusion and that pretreatment with SOD will restore CBF after a brief period of hypoperfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • L- arginine
  • cerebral circulation
  • free radicals
  • head trauma
  • ischemia
  • laser Doppler
  • nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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