Caspase inhibitors are functionally neuroprotective against oxygen glucose deprivation induced CA1 death in organotypic hippocampal slices
We have explored the neuroprotective efficacy of the cell penetrant caspase inhibitor, Ac-YVAD-cmk, in a hippocampal slice model of neuronal cell death induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation. Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were prepared from 8 to 10-day-old rats and maintained for 10 to 12 days in vitro. Pre-treatment with Ac-YVAD-cmk prior to 45 min oxygen and glucose deprivation was neuroprotective as measured by propidium iodide uptake, with an EC50 between 1 and 10 μmol/l. Ac-YVAD-cmk was also able to preserve synaptic function in the organotypic hippocampal slice cultures 24 h after oxygen and glucose deprivation. Ac-YVAD-cmk prevented the increase in histone-associated DNA fragmentation induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation. Interleukin-1β did not reverse the protective effect of Ac-YVAD-cmk, and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist alone was not protective. These results show that caspase inhibitors are neuroprotective in a hippocampal slice culture system, using structural, biochemical and electrophysiological endpoints, and that this effect is not a result of inhibition of interleukin-1β production.