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Neuropharmacology. 2004 Mar;46(3):439-48.

Evidence for a protective role played by the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in cerebral ischemia induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion in male rats.

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Department of Neuroscience, Division of Pharmacology, University of Naples, Federico II Via S Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.


In the present paper, the role played by Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) in focal cerebral ischemia was investigated. To this aim, permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) was performed in male rats. The effects on the infarct volume of some inhibitors, such as tyrosine-6 glycosylated form of the exchanger inhibitory peptide (GLU-XIP), benzamil derivative (CB-DMB) and diarylaminopropylamine derivative (bepridil), and of the NCX activator, FeCl3, were examined. FeCl3, CB-DMB, bepridil and GLU-XIP, a modified peptide synthesized in our laboratory in order to facilitate its entrance into the cells through the glucose transporter, were intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) infused. FeCl3 (10 microg/kg) was able to reduce the extension of brain infarct volume. This effect was counteracted by the concomitant icv administration of CB-DMB (120 microg/kg). All NCX inhibitors, GLU-XIP, CB-DMB and bepridil, caused a worsening of the brain infarct lesion. These results suggest that a stimulation of NCX activity may help neurons and glial cells that are not irreversibly damaged in the penumbral zone to survive, whereas its pharmacological blockade can compromise their survival.

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