Minocycline worsens hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in a neonatal mouse model.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL: 
Johnston MV
Author List: 
Tsuji M
Wilson MA
Lange MS
Johnston MV
Exp Neurol
PubMed ID: 
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity during the perinatal period, and currently no therapeutic drug is available. Minocycline, an antibiotic, has recently been shown to have neuroprotective effects distinct from its antimicrobial effect in several neurological disorders including ischemic brain injury. We examined the effect of minocycline on neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury by using histologic scoring in both mouse and rat models. Mouse (C57Bl/6) and rat (SD) pups were exposed to a unilateral hypoxic-ischemic insult at 8 and 7 days of age, respectively. Minocycline hydrochloride was administered according to protocols that were reported to provide neuroprotection in adult or neonatal rats. Seven days after the insult, we examined brain injury in Nissl stained sections. Although minocycline ameliorated brain injury in the developing rat, it increased injury in the developing mouse. This detrimental effect in the mouse was consistent across different regions (cortex, striatum, and thalamus), with both single and multiple injection protocols and with both moderate and high-dose treatment (P < 0.05). The mechanism of the contrasting effects in mouse and rat is not clear and remains to be elucidated. Minocycline has been used as an antibiotic in the clinical setting for decades; therefore, it may be considered for use in infants with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage, based on prior reports of neuroprotection in the rat. However, it is important to examine this drug carefully before clinical use in human infants, taking our data in the mouse model into consideration.
Published Date: 
September, 2004

Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., to the Kennedy Krieger family as our next President and CEO.

Learn more.

Appointments & Referrals



Read inspiring stories, news and updates about the Institute's patient care, research, special education, professional training, and community programs.


Resource Finder


A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.