, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 244-251
Date: 05 Dec 2009

CSF Neutrophils Are Implicated in the Development of Vasospasm in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

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Cerebral vasospasm is a significant cause of morbidity in patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). There are few effective treatments. The search for new treatments has focused predominantly on dilating cerebral blood vessels. Growing evidence supports a role for inflammation in its pathogenesis but no potential target for intervention has emerged.


CSF and clinical information from patients with aSAH were collected. Additionally, tyrosine modifications by stable isotope dilution HPLC with online tandem mass spectrometry were quantified in CSF samples.


We report an association between neutrophil accumulation in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with aSAH and the development of vasospasm. In particular, CSF neutrophil content of >62% on the third day after aSAH is an independent predictor of the later development of vasospasm (OR 6.8, 95% CI 2.0–23.3, P = 0.002). Further, activity of myeloperoxidase and NADPH oxidase is elevated in aSAH suggesting a role for modification of CSF proteins by reactive oxidant species.


Neutrophil percentage is an independent predictor of vasospasm in aSAH patients, days prior to its onset suggesting a role of neutrophils in vasospasm. The activity of neutrophil enzymes is also increased suggesting a mechanism for blood vessel damage. Inflammation mediated by neutrophils is a potential target for therapies in vasospasm. More study is necessary to determine the mechanism by which neutrophils damage cerebral blood vessels.