X-Message-Number: 15531
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 09:48:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: alcohol, caffeine and unexpected neuroprotection

  Combination of low dose
  ethanol and caffeine protects brain from damage produced by
  focal ischemia in rats.
  Neuropharmacology.  39(3):515-22, 2000 Jan 28.
  Caffeine and ethanol are two commonly overused psychoactive
  dietary components. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of
  acute, chronic, oral (p.o.) and intravenous (i.v.) caffeine,
  ethanol and their combination on infarct
  volume following focal ischemia in rats. Rats received
  treatment either p.o. 3 h and 1 h before, or by i.v. infusion for 2.5 h
  beginning 30-180 min after, ischemia. There were six acute treatment groups.
  (1) oral dH2O (control); (2) oral caffeine (10 mg/kg); (3) oral
  ethanol (0.65 g/kg total); (4) oral ethanol
  plus caffeine; (5) intravenous saline; and (6) intravenous
  ethanol (0.65 g/kg) plus caffeine (10 mg/kg) in saline. A
  7th group received oral ethanol plus caffeine for three
  weeks prior to ischemia. After 3 h of left MCA/CCA occlusion and 24 h
  reperfusion, infarct volume was determined. Control animal infarct volume was
  102.4+/-42.0 mm3. Oral caffeine alone had no effect (122.4+/-30.2 mm3). Oral
  ethanol alone exacerbated infarct volume (177.2+/-27.8 mm3).
  Oral caffeine plus ethanol almost entirely eliminated the
  damage (17.89+/-10.41 mm3). When i.v. treatment with ethanol
  plus caffeine was initiated at 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes post-ischemia the
  infarct volume was reduced by 71.7%, 49.8%, 64.8% and 47.1%, respectively.
  Chronic daily oral ethanol plus caffeine prior to ischemia
  eliminated the neuroprotection seen with acute treatment. These studies
  indicate that ethanol, which by itself aggravates cerebral
  ischemia, and caffeine, when combined together immediately before or for 2 h
  after focal stroke, reduces ischemic damage.

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