Cationic arginine-rich and poly-arginine peptides (referred to as CARPs) have potent neuroprotective properties in in vitro excitotoxicity and in vivo models of stroke. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) shares many pathophysiological processes as stroke, including excitotoxicity. Therefore, we evaluated our lead peptide, poly-arginine R18, with the COG1410 and APP96-110 peptides, which have neuroprotective actions following TBI. In an in vitro cortical neuronal glutamic acid excitotoxicity injury model, R18 was highly neuroprotective and reduced neuronal calcium influx, while COG1410 and APP96-110 displayed modest neuroprotection and were less effective at reducing calcium influx. In an impact-acceleration closed-head injury model (Marmarou model), R18, COG1410, and APP96-110 were administered intravenously (300 nmol/kg) at 30 minutes after injury in male Sprague- Dawley rats. When compared to vehicle, no peptide significantly improved functional outcomes, however the R18 and COG1410 treatment groups displayed positive trends in the adhesive tape test and rotarod assessments. Similarly, no peptide had a significant effect on hippocampal neuronal loss, however a significant reduction in axonal injury was observed for R18 and COG1410. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated that R18 is significantly more effective than COG1410 and APP96-110 at reducing neuronal injury and calcium influx following excitotoxicity, and that both R18 and COG1410 reduce axonal injury following TBI. Additional dose response and treatment time course studies are required to further assess the efficacy of R18 in TBI.


TBI, cationic arginine-rich peptides (CARPs), R18, APP96-110, COG1410, axonal injury, neuroprotection

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