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Ann Neurol. 2000 Mar;47(3):329-35.

Endothelin inhibition improves cerebral blood flow and is neuroprotective in pneumococcal meningitis.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology, University of Berne, Switzerland.


By using an infant rat model of pneumococcal meningitis, we determined whether endothelins contribute to neuronal damage in this disease. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis demonstrated a significant increase of endothelin-1 in infected animals compared with uninfected controls. Histopathological examination 24 hours after infection showed brain damage in animals treated with ceftriaxone alone (median, 9.2% of cortex; range, 0-49.1%). In infected animals treated intraperitoneally with the endothelin antagonist bosentan (30 mg/kg, every 12 hours) also, injury was reduced to 0.5% (range, 0-8.6%) of cortex. Cerebral blood flow was reduced in infected animals (6.5 +/- 4.0 ml/min/100 g of brain vs 14.9 +/- 9.1 ml/min/100 g in controls. Treatment with bosentan restored cerebral blood flow to levels similar to controls (12.8 +/- 5.3 ml/min/100 g). Improved blood flow was not mediated by nitric oxide production, because bosentan had no effect on cerebrospinal fluid or plasma nitrite/nitrate concentrations at 6, 12, or 18 hours. These data indicate that endothelins contribute to neuronal injury in this model of pneumococcal meningitis by causing cerebral ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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