Neuroprotective Effects of Cyclosporine in a Porcine Pre-Clinical Trial of Focal Traumatic Brain Injury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to be a hallmark of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and plays a pivotal role in the resulting cellular injury. Cyclophilin D-mediated activation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore has been suggested to contribute to this secondary injury cascade. Cyclosporine possesses neuroprotective properties that have been attributed to the desensitization of mitochondrial permeability transition pore activation. In vivo animal experiments have demonstrated neuroprotective effects of cyclosporine in more than 20 independent experimental studies in a multitude of different experimental models. However, the majority of these studies have been carried out in rodents. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of a novel and cremophor/kolliphor EL-free lipid emulsion formulation of cyclosporine in a translational large animal model of TBI. A mild-to-moderate focal contusion injury was induced in piglets using a controlled cortical impact device. After initial step-wise analyses of pharmacokinetics and comparing with exposure of cyclosporine in clinical TBI trials, a 5-day dosing regimen with continuous intravenous cyclosporine infusion (20 mg/kg/day) was evaluated in a randomized and blinded placebo-controlled setting. Cyclosporine reduced the volume of parenchymal injury by 35%, as well as improved markers of neuronal injury, as measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. Further, a consistent trend toward positive improvements in brain metabolism and mitochondrial function was observed in the pericontusional tissue. In this study, we have demonstrated efficacy using a novel cyclosporine formulation in clinically relevant and translatable outcome metrics in a large animal model of focal TBI.


External organisations
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Copenhagen University Hospital
  • NeuroVive Pharmaceutical AB
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology


  • magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging, mitochondria, traumatic brain injury
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch