The protective role of nitric oxide in the brain ischemia

L. W. Dobrucki, L. Kalinowski, W. Uracz, T. Malinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A role of nitric oxide in ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury of brain in normotensive (Sprague-Dowley rats, SD) and stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR-SP) was studied. Cerebral ischemia was produced in rats by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). NO and O2/- releases in the brain in response to MCA occlusion followed by reperfusion were simultaneously monitored (2h) using electrochemical microsensors. The size of infarct was evaluated in the course of I/R from images of brain slices stained with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride. Similar patterns of NO and O2/- releases were exhibited for SD and SHR-SP rats in the entire course of the experiments. However, the concentration of NO release was significantly lower during I/R in SHR-SP than in SD rats (the maximal NO concentration was 2.61±0.22 μmol/L for SD and 1.51±0.16 μmol/L for SHR-SP rats; *P < 0.01). In contrast, the concentration of O2/- release during cerebral ischemia was significantly higher in SHR-SP than SD rats (the maximal increase was 122±24 nmol/L for SD and 220±44 nmol/L for SHR-SP rats; *P < 0.01). The infarct sizes revealed in the course of I/R were larger in SHR-SP than SD rats (1.8±0.4% vs. 1.1±0.4% at 30 min., 2.84±0.8% vs. 2.21±0.6% at 100 min. and 9.20±1.1% vs. 5.8±0.6% at 180 min. of the brain weights, respectively; *P < 0.01 for each time-point). These studies indicate that nitric oxide plays a protective role during I/R and deficiency of NO in SHR-SP rats is due to excess of O2/- production. The deficiency in NO concentration correlates positively with the increase of cerebral I/R injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-703
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain ischemia
  • Infarct size
  • MCA
  • Middle cerebral artery occlusion
  • Nitric oxide
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology


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