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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2009 Jul;29(7):1262-72. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.47. Epub 2009 May 6.

Inhibition of NADPH oxidase is neuroprotective after ischemia-reperfusion.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (NOX) is well known as a major source for superoxide radical generation in leukocytes. Superoxide radicals play a significant role in brain ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Recent data have also shown expression of NOX in the brain. However, the manner by which NOX is involved in pathologic processes after cerebral ischemia remains unknown. Therefore, we subjected mice deficient in the NOX subunit, gp91(phox) (gp91(phox)-/-), those treated with the NOX inhibitor, apocynin, and wild-type (WT) mice to 75 mins of focal ischemia followed by reperfusion. At 24 h of reperfusion, the gp91(phox)-/- and apocynin-treated mice showed 50% less brain infarction and 70% less cleaved spectrin compared with WT mice. The levels of 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, malondialdehyde, and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine increased significantly after I/R, indicating oxidative brain injury. NADPH oxidase inhibition reduced biomarker generation. Furthermore, NOX was involved in postischemic inflammation in the brains, as less intercellular adhesion molecule-1 upregulation and less neutrophil infiltration were found in the NOX-inhibited mice after I/R. Moreover, gp91(phox) expression increased after ischemia, and was further aggravated by genetic copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) ablation, but ameliorated in SOD1-overexpressing mice. This study suggests that NOX plays a role in oxidative stress and inflammation, thus contributing to ischemic brain injury.

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