Recent Study Reveals Benefits of Amantadine on TBI Outcome

Amantadine for treating brain injury

There are approximately 5.3 million Americans living with a disability due to traumatic brain injury, illuminating the importance for effective pharmacological intervention. A 2014 study by Wang et al. analyzed the potentially therapeutic effects that Amantadine (AMT) has on TBI. AMT is a pharmacologic agent originally known for its antiviral and antiparkinsonian properties. Recognizing its potentially therapeutic role in TBI, Wang et al. conducted an animal model study to analyze the effect of AMT in TBI. This study compared three groups consisting of 9, 12, and 7 rats with laboratory induced TBI that were delivered 15, 45, and 135 mg/kg/day, respectively, to a control group of 14 rats that underwent the same procedure but were injected with a saline solution.

The study aimed to determine the concentration of AMT clinically necessary to improve cognitive outcome and cell survival in the hippocampus following TBI. Two primary outcome measures were analyzed: overall performance on the Morris water maze (MWM) and the number of surviving CA2-CA3 (regions of the hippocampus) cells. Performance on the MWM test was determined by the amount of time that it took the rat to find the hidden platform over a period of five days with four attempts per day. The numbers of CA2 and CA3 cells were measured with a staining and cross-sectional technique after euthanizing the rats.

Research found significant differences were found between the saline group and the group receiving AMT at 135 mg/kg/day. This study determined that clinically relevant doses of AMT led to an improvement in post TBI cognition and neuroprotection. Wang et al. concluded, “given that AMT is the only drug with class I evidence of clinical benefit in TBI, these results provide pharmacological validation of the fluid percussion injury model of TBI, enabling the evaluation of other investigation therapies for the treatment of TBI.”

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