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J Neurochem. 2000 Nov;75(5):2178-89.

Oxidative stress following traumatic brain injury in rats: quantitation of biomarkers and detection of free radical intermediates.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238, USA.


Oxidative stress may contribute to many pathophysiologic changes that occur after traumatic brain injury. In the current study, contemporary methods of detecting oxidative stress were used in a rodent model of traumatic brain injury. The level of the stable product derived from peroxidation of arachidonyl residues in phospholipids, 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2alpha), was increased at 6 and 24 h after traumatic brain injury. Furthermore, relative amounts of fluorescent end products of lipid peroxidation in brain extracts were increased at 6 and 24 h after trauma compared with sham-operated controls. The total antioxidant reserves of brain homogenates and water-soluble antioxidant reserves as well as tissue concentrations of ascorbate, GSH, and protein sulfhydryls were reduced after traumatic brain injury. A selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2, SC 58125, prevented depletion of ascorbate and thiols, the two major water-soluble antioxidants in traumatized brain. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of rat cortex homogenates failed to detect any radical adducts with a spin trap, 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N:-oxide, but did detect ascorbate radical signals. The ascorbate radical EPR signals increased in brain homogenates derived from traumatized brain samples compared with sham-operated controls. These results along with detailed model experiments in vitro indicate that ascorbate is a major antioxidant in brain and that the EPR assay of ascorbate radicals may be used to monitor production of free radicals in brain tissue after traumatic brain injury.

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