Neuroprotective effects of the beta-carboline abecarnil studied in cultured cortical neurons and organotypic retinal cultures.

Karsten Ruscher, Stefan Rzeczinski, Elisabeth Thein, Dorette Freyer, Ilya V Victorov, Tim T Lam, Ulrich Dirnagl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Presently there is no neuroprotective pharmacological treatment of proven clinical safety and efficacy available. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the ss-carboline, abecarnil (Abe), which has already passed clinical phase III trials in patients with anxiety disorders, is neuroprotective in in vitro models of cerebral ischemia or excitotoxicity. Abe (100 nM) protected cultured cortical neurons when applied 20 min before or 20 min after combined oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD). Furthermore, cultured cortical neurons were protected from NMDA excitotoxicity when Abe (100 nM) was administered 20 min before or concurrent with 100 mu M NMDA. In contrast, in adult rat organotypic retinal cultures, Abe failed to protect retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) against glutamate (Glu) excitotoxicity. Thus, although our data demonstrate that Abe is a potential neuroprotectant in cultured neurons, the lack of effect in an organotypical model of Glu toxicity indicates that further study is required before Abe might be considered for human neuroprotection trials. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1488-1495
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Experimental Brain Research (0131000120), Laboratory for Experimental Brain Research (013041000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology


  • organotypic retinal
  • neuroprotection
  • abecarnil
  • excitotoxicity
  • oxygen glucose deprivation
  • culture


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