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J Neurochem. 2003 May;85(4):843-50.

Up-regulation of cerebral carbonic anhydrase by anoxic stress in piglets.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Szeged, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary.


The resuscitation of asphyxiated babies is associated with changes in cerebral protein synthesis that can influence the neurological outcome. Insufficient gas exchange results in rapid shifts in extracellular and intracellular pH. Carbonic anhydrase (CA) plays an important role in buffering acute changes in pH in the brain. We investigated whether asphyxia/re-ventilation influences the expression of cerebral CA isoforms (CA-II, CA-III and CA-IV) in anaesthetized newborn pigs. The cerebral cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and retina were sampled, and prepared for either CA immunohistochemistry or CA immunoblotting from piglets subjected to asphyxia (10 min) followed by 2-4 h of re-ventilation, and also from normoxic controls. The CA immunoreactivity (IR) of all the isoforms studied was weak in the controls, apart from staining of a few oligodendrocytes in the subcortical white matter, some astrocytes in the superficial layer of the cerebral cortex, the cerebellar Purkinje cells and the retinal Müller cells that possessed moderate CA-II IR. However, asphyxia induced a marked increase in the CA IR of all isoforms in all the cerebral regions investigated and the retina after 4 h of survival. The pyramidal cells of the frontal cortex and hippocampus displayed the most conspicuous increase in CA IR. Immunoblotting confirmed increased levels of all the CA isoenzymes. We conclude that raised CA levels after asphyxia may contribute to the compensatory mechanisms that protect against the pathological changes in the neonatal CNS.

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