Key words Stroke
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Cyclooxygenases (COX; prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthases) are key enzymes in the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostanoids which mediate inflammation, immunomodulation, mitogenesis, ovulation, fewer, apoptosis and blood flow. Here, we report COX-1 expression following focal cerebral infarctions (FCI). In healthy control brains, COX-1 was localized by immunohistochemistry to a few endothelial cells, single neurons and rare, evenly distributed brain microglia/macrophages. In infarctioned brains, COX-1+ cells accumulated highly significantly (P 〈 0.0001) in peri-infarctional areas and in the developing necrotic core early after infarction. Here, cell numbers remained persistently elevated up to several months post infarction. Further, clusters of COX-1+ cells were located in perivascular regions related to the Virchow-Robin space. Double-labeling experiments confirmed co-expression of COX-1 by CD68+ microglia/macrophages. Co-expression of the activation antigens HLA-DR, -DP, -DQ (MHC class II) or the macrophage inhibitor factor-related protein MRP-8 (S100A8) by most COX-1+ microglia/macrophages was only seen early after infarction. Thus, COX-1 appeared to be expressed in microglial cells regardless of their activation state. However, the prolonged accumulation of COX-1+ microglia/macrophages restricted to peri-infarctional areas enduring the acute post-ischemic inflammatory response points to a role of COX-1 in tissue remodeling or in the pathophysiology of secondary injury. We have identified localized, accumulated COX-1 expression as a potential pharmacological target following FCI. Therefore we suggest that therapeutic approaches based on selective COX-2 blocking might ¶not be sufficient for suppressing the local synthesis of prostanoids.
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