BackgroundAcute subdural hemorrhage (ASDH) is a severe consequence of traumatic brain injury. The occurrence of subdural blood increases the lethality of these patients independent of the amount of blood or elevated intracranial pressure. Thrombin is one of the potential harmful blood components. Possible harmful effects of thrombin are mediated via the Protease-activated-receptor-1 (PAR1) and thus, translating the acute Thrombin release after ASDH into cell loss. The objectives of the present study were twofold, namely to examine (1) the impact of direct thrombin inhibition in the acute phase after hemorrhage on the long-term histological and functional deficits and (2) the early inhibition of PAR1 activation by thrombin with the selective antagonist SCH79797 on lesion volume at 14 days after ASDH. The effects of thrombin on the lesion size were investigated in two separate experiments via (1) direct thrombin inhibition in the subdural infused blood (Argatroban 600 µg) as well as by (2) intraventricular injection of the PAR-1 antagonist SCH79797 (1 µg or 5 µg). Lesion volume and behavior deficits using a neurological deficit score and a motor function test (beam balance test) were analyzed as outcome parameters at 14 days after injury.Results59 Male Sprague–Dawley rats received a subdural infusion of 300 µl autologous blood or sham operation. Lesion volume at 14 days after ASDH tended to be smaller in the Argatroban-treated group when compared to the vehicle group (8.1 ± 1.1 vs. 10.1 ± 2.3 mm2, n.s.). Motor deficits in the beam balance test were not significantly less severe in the Argatroban-treated group. Animals treated with SCH79797 also showed a trend towards dose-dependent decreased lesion volume in comparison to the vehicle-treated group (1 μg: 4.3 ± 0.7 mm3; 5 μg: 3.8 ± 1.1 mm3; vehicle: 6.5 ± 2.0 mm3, n.s).ConclusionsThrombin inhibition in the subdural blood and local cerebral blockade of PAR-1 cause a tendency towards reduced lesion volume or functional recovery. All results show a trend in favor of the acute treatment on the outcome parameters. Our results suggests that thrombin could be an important blood-derived factor during acute subdural hemorrhage that translates its deleterious effects in concert with other blood-induced factors.