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Glia. 2005 Jun;50(4):389-97.

Astrocytic swelling in cerebral ischemia as a possible cause of injury and target for therapy.

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  • 1Neural and Vascular Biology, Ordway Research Institute, Albany, New York 12208, USA.


In this viewpoint article, I summarize data showing that the astrocytic swelling that occurs early after the acute CNS pathologies ischemia and traumatic brain injury is damaging. We have proposed that one reason may be the release of excitatory amino acids (EAA) via volume-activated anion channels (VRACs) that are activated by such swelling. This release could be a target for therapy, which could involve blocking the astrocytic swelling or the release mechanisms. The transport mechanisms likely causing the early astrocytic swelling are therefore summarized. In terms of targeting the release mechanisms, we have found a potent inhibitor of VRACs, tamoxifen, to be strongly neuroprotective in focal ischemia with a therapeutic window of 3 h after initiation of the ischemia. The question, however, of whether neuroprotection by tamoxifen can be solely attributed to VRAC inhibition in astrocytes has yet to be resolved.

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