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Stroke. 2007 Dec;38(12):3280-6. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Transcription factor Nrf2 protects the brain from damage produced by intracerebral hemorrhage.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Texas at Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) remains a major medical problem for which there is no effective treatment. Oxidative and cytotoxic damage plays an important role in ICH pathogenesis and may represent a target for treatment of ICH. Recent studies have suggested that nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a pleiotropic transcription factor, may play a key role in protecting cells from cytotoxic/oxidative damage. This study evaluated the role of Nrf2 in protecting the brain from ICH-mediated damage.


Sprague-Dawley rats and Nrf2-deficient or control mice received intracerebral injection of autologous blood to mimic ICH. Sulforaphane was used to activate Nrf2. Oxidative stress, the presence of myeloperoxidase-positive cells (neutrophils) in ICH-affected brains, and behavioral dysfunction were assessed to determine the extent of ICH-mediated damage.


Sulforaphane activated Nrf2 in ICH-affected brain tissue and reduced neutrophil count, oxidative damage, and behavioral deficits caused by ICH. Nrf2-deficient mice demonstrated more severe neurologic deficits after ICH and did not benefit from the protective effect of sulforaphane.


Nrf2 may represent a strategic target for ICH therapies.

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