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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Targeted over-expression of endothelin-1 in astrocytes leads to more severe brain damage and vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Patrick KK Yeung1, Jiangang Shen2, Stephen SM Chung4 and Sookja K Chung135*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China

3 Research Center of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Aging, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China

4 Division of Science and Technology, United International College, Zhuhai, Guandong, China

5 Department of Anatomy, The University of Hong Kong, 1/F, Laboratory Block, Faculty of Medicine Building, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong, SAR, China

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BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:131  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-131

Published: 25 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor, and astrocytic ET-1 is reported to play a role in the pathogenesis of cerebral ischemic injury and cytotoxic edema. However, it is still unknown whether astrocytic ET-1 also contributes to vasogenic edema and vasospasm during subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). In the present study, transgenic mice with astrocytic endothelin-1 over-expression (GET-1 mice) were used to investigate the pathophysiological role of ET-1 in SAH pathogenesis.

Results

The GET-1 mice experienced a higher mortality rate and significantly more severe neurological deficits, blood–brain barrier breakdown and vasogenic edema compared to the non-transgenic (Ntg) mice following SAH. Oral administration of vasopressin V1a receptor antagonist, SR 49059, significantly reduced the cerebral water content in the GET-1 mice. Furthermore, the GET-1 mice showed significantly more pronounced middle cerebral arterial (MCA) constriction after SAH. Immunocytochemical analysis showed that the calcium-activated potassium channels and the phospho-eNOS were significantly downregulated, whereas PKC-α expression was significantly upregulated in the MCA of the GET-1 mice when compared to Ntg mice after SAH. Administration of ABT-627 (ETA receptor antagonist) significantly down-regulated PKC-α expression in the MCA of the GET-1 mice following SAH.

Conclusions

The present study suggests that astrocytic ET-1 involves in SAH-induced cerebral injury, edema and vasospasm, through ETA receptor and PKC-mediated potassium channel dysfunction. Administration of ABT-627 (ETA receptor antagonist) and SR 49059 (vasopressin V1a receptor antagonist) resulted in amelioration of edema and vasospasm in mice following SAH. These data provide a strong rationale to investigate SR 49059 and ABT-627 as therapeutic drugs for the treatment of SAH patients.

Keywords:
Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Vasospasm; Endothelium; Astrocytes; Brain edema