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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 30;98(3):1294-9.

Reduced susceptibility to ischemic brain injury and N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated neurotoxicity in cyclooxygenase-2-deficient mice.

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  • 1Center for Clinical and Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a prostanoid-synthesizing enzyme that contributes to the toxicity associated with inflammation, has recently emerged as a promising therapeutic target for several illnesses, ranging from osteoarthritis to Alzheimer's disease. Although COX-2 has also been linked to ischemic stroke, its role in the mechanisms of ischemic brain injury remains controversial. We demonstrate that COX-2-deficient mice have a significant reduction in the brain injury produced by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. The protection can be attributed to attenuation of glutamate neurotoxicity, a critical factor in the initiation of ischemic brain injury, and to abrogation of the deleterious effects of postischemic inflammation, a process contributing to the secondary progression of the damage. Thus, COX-2 is involved in pathogenic events occurring in both the early and late stages of cerebral ischemia and may be a valuable therapeutic target for treatment of human stroke.

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