Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Physiology 2016 (Dublin, Ireland) (2016) Proc Physiol Soc 37, PCA270

Poster Communications

Neuroprotective effect of oxytocin during in vivo neonatal hypoxia/hypercapnia in rats

A. Zagrean1, A. Panaitescu1,2, S. Isac1, M. Ceanga1,3, A. Paslaru1, M. Stancu1, B. Pavel1, D. Zahiu1, L. Zagrean1, M. Moldovan1,4

1. Physiology and Fundamental Neuroscience, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania. 2. Filantropia Hospital, Bucharest, Romania. 3. Department of Neurology, University Hospital Jena, Jena, Germany. 4. Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen, Panum, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Accumulating evidence suggests that the neuropeptide oxytocin plays an important neuroprotective role during development. We previously found that oxytocin was neuroprotective on immature hippocampal cultures subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation. Here we explored in neonatal Wistar rats the neuroprotective potential of nasal administered oxytocin (20 IU/kg BW) 30 min before a 90 min hypoxia/hypercapnia exposure. We found that during the first 2 hours postexposure the loss of righting reflex (LRR) was midway between sham-treated and normoxic rats. Consistently, in oxytocin treated rats the hippocampal damage at 24 hours was attenuated, as assessed by S100B, IL1b and TNFa. At 2 months, there was no EEG evidence of seizures or rhythmic slowing in either oxytocin or sham-treated groups. During deep isoflurane anesthesia, the resulting BS patterns at burst-suppression ratios (BSR) of 40-80% showed bursts of normal duration, and normal intra-burst EEG. Nevertheless, photic stimulation for 60 seconds caused a transient reduction in BSR. In oxytocin-treated group this reactivity was also midway between the reactivity of sham-treated and normoxic rats. Our data suggest that oxytocin has an acute neuroprotective effect during perinatal hypoxic/hypercapnic injury with long-term beneficial effects. Furthermore, measurements of BS reactivity could emerge as a novel approach to derive functional markers of ischemic injury.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements