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Neuropharmacology. 2006 Feb;50(2):182-90. Epub 2005 Oct 19.

Selective inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase reduces neurological deficit but not cerebral edema following traumatic brain injury.

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Université Paris Descartes, Faculté de Pharmacie, Laboratoire de Pharmacologie de la Circulation Cérébrale (UPRES EA 2510), 4, avenue de l'Observatoire, 75270 Paris Cedex 06, France.


The role of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in cerebral edema and neurological deficit following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not yet clear-cut. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of three different iNOS inhibitors on cerebral edema and functional outcome after TBI. First, the time courses of blood--brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, cerebral edema, and neurological deficit were studied in a rat model of fluid percussion-induced TBI. The permeability of BBB to Evans blue was increased from 1 h to 24 h after TBI. Consistently, a significant increase in brain water content (BWC) was observed at 6 and 24 h post-TBI. A deficit in sensorimotor neurological functions was also observed from 6 h to 7 days with a maximum 24 h after TBI. Second, a single dose of aminoguanidine (AG; 100 mg/kg, i.p.), L-N-iminoethyl-lysine (L-NIL; 20 mg/kg, i.p.), or N-[3-(aminomethyl)benzyl]acetamide (1400W; 20 mg/kg, s.c.) was administered at 6 h post-TBI. Treatment with AG reduced by 71% the increase in BWC evaluated at 24 h, while L-NIL and 1400W had no effect. In contrast, the three iNOS inhibitors reduced the neurological deficit from 30% to 40%. Third, 1400W (20 mg/kg, s.c.) was administered at 5 min, 8 and 16 h post-TBI. Although this treatment paradigm had no effect on cerebral edema evaluated at 24 h, it significantly reduced the neurological deficit and iNOS activity. In conclusion, iNOS contributes to post-TBI neurological deficit but not to cerebral edema. The beneficial effect of iNOS inhibitors is not due to their anti-edematous effect, and the reduction of cerebral edema by AG is unlikely related to iNOS inhibition. The 6 h therapeutic window of iNOS inhibitors could allow their use in the treatment of functional deficit at the acute phase of TBI.

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