The effects of nicotinamide on apoptosis and blood-brain barrier breakdown following traumatic brain injury

Michael R. Hoane, Shelby A. Kaplan, Amy L. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Nicotinamide has been shown to protect against many of the pathophysiological factors associated with both ischemic and traumatic brain injuries. The present study evaluated the neuroprotective effect of nicotinamide on the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and apoptosis expression following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Animals were prepared with a unilateral cortical contusion injury (CCI). Fifteen minutes following injury the animals received either nicotinamide (500 mg/kg, ip) or 0.9% saline. The animals were perfused at 5, 24, and 72 h post-injury. BBB integrity was assessed by endogenous rat IgG immunoreactivity. Recent studies have shown that IgG immunoreactivity is a reliable measure of BBB integrity. The results indicated that IgG immunoreactivity was greatest at 5 h and declined at 24 h after injury. Nicotinamide significantly reduced IgG expression at every time point following injury. Apoptosis was examined using the TUNEL method. The results indicated that TUNEL immunoreactivity peaked at 24 h. TUNEL+ cells were classified morphologically as nonapoptotic (Type I) or apoptotic (Type II) to verify that the neuroprotective effects of nicotinamide occur by inhibiting apoptosis or necrosis. Administration of nicotinamide significantly reduced the expression of all TUNEL+ cells in the tissue surrounding the lesion cavity. Specifically there was a significant reduction in the number of Type I, Type II, and Total TUNEL+ cells in the nicotinamide-treated animals. In addition, nicotinamide reduced lesion cavity expansion 72 h following CCI. These findings suggest that nicotinamide reduces BBB breach and neuronal cell loss acutely following injury and that these reductions may account for the beneficial behavioral effects seen in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 13 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Neuronal death
  • Neuroprotection
  • Nicotinamide
  • Rat
  • TBI
  • Treatment
  • Vitamin B3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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