Haiting Liu, Jiao Li, Fengyan Zhao, Huiqing Wang, Yi Qu, Dezhi Mu
September 16, 2014
Hypoxic or ischemic stress causes many serious brain injuries, including stroke and neonatal hypoxia ischemia encephalopathy. During brain hypoxia ischemia processes, nitric oxide (NO) may play either a neurotoxic or a neuroprotective role, depending upon factors such as the NO synthase (NOS) isoform, the cell type by which NO is produced, and the temporal stage after the onset of the hypoxic ischemic brain injury. Excessive NO production can be neurotoxic, leading to cascade reactions of excitotoxicity, inflammation, apoptosis, and deteriorating primary brain injury. In contrast, NO produced by endothelial NOS plays a neuroprotective role by maintaining cerebral blood flow and preventing neuronal injury, as well as inhibiting platelet and leukocyte adhesion. Sometimes, NO-derived inducible NOS and neuronal NOS in special areas may also play neuroprotective roles. Therefore, this review summarizes the different roles and the regulation of the three NOS isoforms in hypoxic or ischemic brain injury as revealed in research in recent years, focusing on the neurotoxic role of the three NOS isoforms involved in mechanisms of hypoxic or ischemic brain injury.