Alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) was used to reduce <tex-math>${}^{125}{\rm I}\text{-induced}$</tex-math> brain injury in normal beagle dogs. Different DFMO doses and administration schedules were used to determine if the reduction in brain injury was dependent on dose and/or dependent upon when the drug was administered relative to the radiation treatment. Doses of DMFO of 75 mg/kg/day and 37.5 mg/kg/day given 2 days before, during and for 14 days after irradiation reduced levels of putrescine (PU) in the cerebrospinal fluid relative to controls. Volume of edema was significantly reduced by 75 mg/kg/day of DFMO before, during and after irradiation and by the same dose when the drug was started immediately after irradiation. A reduction in edema volume after 37.5 mg/kg/day before, during and after irradiation was very near significance. Ultrafast CT studies performed on dogs that received a DFMO dose of 75 mg/kg/day before, during and after irradiation suggested that the reduced edema volume was associated with reduced vascular permeability. Volume of necrosis and volume of contrast enhancement (breakdown of the blood-brain barrier) were significantly lower than controls only after a DFMO dose of 75 mg/kg/day before, during and after irradiation. These latter data, coupled with the findings relative to edema, suggest that different mechanisms may be involved with respect to the effects of DFMO on brain injury, or that the extents of edema, necrosis and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier may depend upon different levels of polyamine depletion. The precise mechanisms by which DFMO exerts the effects observed here need to be determined.

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