The Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE) is activated during ischemia-reperfusion in an effort to restore intracellular pH to normal levels. The NHE is recognized to exist as a distinct protein in the plasma membranes of a variety of cells. We investigated the pharmacological effects of a Na+/H+ exchanger inhibitor, SM-20220 (N-(aminoiminomethyl)-1-methyl-1-H-indole-2-carboxamide methanesulfonate), on ischemic brain damage, edema and neutrophil accumulation at 72 h after middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion in a rat MCA occlusion model. SM-20220 was intravenously administered as a bolus injection immediately after occlusion, followed by a continuous infusion over 2.5 h. At 72 h after occlusion, the infract area was measured using hematoxylin-eosin staining and, using the same slices, neutrophils in the brain were immuno-stained with anti-myeloperoxidase (n=11). In a separate study, rat behavior was scored and scaled, and brains removed for the determination of water content by the dry-weight method. SM-20220 significantly (P<0.05) attenuated cerebral infarct volume, water content, and the neutrophil accumulation at 72 h after the MCA occlusion, and ameliorated neurological deficits. SM-20220, an NHE inhibitor prevented the progress of cerebral ischemic damage and edema following MCA occlusion in rats though a possible mechanism that may be due to the inhibition of neutrophil accumulation. The NHE in neutrophils may enhance the progress of cerebral damage following cerebral ischemia-reperfusion.
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