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Effects of methylprednisolone on sepsis-induced blood–brain barrier permeability and reflex responsiveness in rats


The purpose of this study was to assess neurological function and examine blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability changes in septic encephalopathy after cecal ligation and perforation (CLP). The protective effect of high-dose methylprednisolone administration on BBB derangement and neurological dysfunction was also investigated.


An experimental prospective randomized study was performed on 42 adult male Sprague–Dawley rats. Sepsis was induced through CLP. A bolus 30 mg/kg methylprednisolone administration followed by intravenous injection of 5.4 mg/kg/hour for 8 hours was given immediately after CLP in septic and sham-operated rats. Control groups for both septic and sham-operated rats were injected with equal volumes of saline.


Neurological function was assessed at 8, 12, and 24 hours after sepsis induction. Those rats surviving for 24 hours post procedure were anesthetized and decapitated for investigation of BBB integrity using a spectrophotometric assay of Evans blue dye extravasations. A significant decrease in neurological function and a significant increase in BBB permeability were observed with the induction of sepsis compared with the sham-operated controls. Administration of methylprednisolone caused a significantly improved reflex responsiveness and decreased brain tissue Evans blue dye content in septic rats.


The present investigation shows that methylpred-nisolone administered immediately after sepsis induction via CLP is associated with better neurologic scores, which might be related to its positive effects on sepsis-induced BBB permeability changes.

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Esen, F., Erdem, T., Ogan, A. et al. Effects of methylprednisolone on sepsis-induced blood–brain barrier permeability and reflex responsiveness in rats. Crit Care 13, P326 (2009).

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  • Methylprednisolone
  • Neurological Function
  • Permeability Change
  • Evans Blue
  • Cecal Ligation