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

G Louin, C Marchand-Verrecchia, B Palmier, M Plotkine, M Jafarian-Tehrani
Neuropharmacology 2006, 50 (2): 182-90
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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