Key words Heme oxygenase-1
Heat shock protein-32
Traumatic brain injury
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Extracellular heme derived from hemoglobin following hemorrhage or released from dying cells induces the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1, HSP-32) which metabolizes heme to the gaseous mediator carbon monoxide (CO), iron (Fe) and biliverdin. Biliverdin and its product bilirubin are powerful antioxidants. Thus, expression of HO-1 is considered to be a protective mechanism against oxidative stress and has been described in microglia, astrocytes and neurons following distinct experimental models of pathological alterations to the brain such as subarachnoidal hemorrhage, ischemia and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and in human neurodegenerative diseases. We have now analyzed the expression of HO-1 in human brains following TBI (n = 28; survival times: few minutes up to 6 months) and focal cerebral infarctions (FCI; n = 17; survival time: 〈 1 day up to months) by ¶immunohistochemistry. Follwing TBI, accumulation of ¶HO-1+ microglia/macrophages at the hemorrhagic lesion was detected as early as 6 h post trauma and was still pronounced after 6 months. In contrast, after FCI HO-1+ microglia/macrophages accumulated within focal hemorrhages only and were absent in non-hemorrhagic regions. Further, HO-1 was weakly expressed in astrocytes in the perifocal penumbra. In contrast to experimental data derived from rat focal ischemia, these results indicate a prolonged HO-1 expression in humans after brain injury.
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