Mitochondrial-Protective Effects of R-Phenibut after Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Einars Kupats (Coresponding Author), Gundega Stelfa, Baiba Zvejniece, Solveiga Grinberga, Edijs Vavers, Marina Makrecka-Kuka, Baiba Svalbe, Liga Zvejniece, Maija Dambrova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Altered neuronal Ca2+ homeostasis and mitochondrial dysfunction play a central role in the pathogenesis of traumatic brain injury (TBI). R-Phenibut ((3R)-phenyl-4-aminobutyric acid) is an antagonist of the α2δ subunit of voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCC) and an agonist of gamma-aminobutyric acid B (GABA-B) receptors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential therapeutic effects of R-phenibut following the lateral fluid percussion injury (latFPI) model of TBI in mice and the impact of R- and S-phenibut on mitochondrial functionality in vitro. By determining the bioavailability of R-phenibut in the mouse brain tissue and plasma, we found that R-phenibut (50 mg/kg) reached the brain tissue 15 min after intraperitoneal (i.p.) and peroral (p.o.) injections. The maximal concentration of R-phenibut in the brain tissues was 0.6 μg/g and 0.2 μg/g tissue after i.p. and p.o. administration, respectively. Male Swiss-Webster mice received i.p. injections of R-phenibut at doses of 10 or 50 mg/kg 2 h after TBI and then once daily for 7 days. R-Phenibut treatment at the dose of 50 mg/kg significantly ameliorated functional deficits after TBI on postinjury days 1, 4, and 7. Seven days after TBI, the number of Nissl-stained dark neurons (N-DNs) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) expression in the cerebral neocortex in the area of cortical impact were reduced. Moreover, the addition of R- and S-phenibut at a concentration of 0.5 μg/ml inhibited calcium-induced mitochondrial swelling in the brain homogenate and prevented anoxia-reoxygenation-induced increases in mitochondrial H2O2 production and the H2O2/O ratio. Taken together, these results suggest that R-phenibut could serve as a neuroprotective agent and promising drug candidate for treating TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9364598
Number of pages12
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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