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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2003;86:163-6.

Thrombin exacerbates brain edema in focal cerebral ischemia.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0532, USA.


Thrombin contributes to edema formation after intracerebral hemorrhage. Recent studies suggest that thrombin may also play a role in ischemic brain damage. In the present study, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized with pentobarbital. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) was occluded using the suture method. We found that brain thrombin activity was elevated after permanent MCA occlusion as was prothrombin messenger RNA expression. Intracerebral injection of a thrombin inhibitor, hirudin, reduced neurological deficits following cerebral ischemia. In contrast, intracerebral administration of exogenous thrombin (at a dose that is non-toxic to normal brain), markedly exacerbated brain edema after transient focal cerebral ischemia. These results indicate that extravascular thrombin inhibition may be a new therapeutic target for cerebral ischemia.

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