Hemoglobin as a Promoter of Central Nervous System Damage
The full extent of an injury to the central nervous system (CNS) is often not evident until long after the initial insult. Multiple factors may be involved, but one which appears to be of great importance is hemorrhage into the site of damage.1 Indeed, in at least one experimental model of CNS trauma, neutrophils only accumulate in those areas to which blood has extravasated.2 We have hypothesized that free hemoglobin (Hb) may promote oxidative reactions and, thereby, certain inflammatory events. Indeed, in terms of susceptibility to oxidation, the brain would appear to be a combustible tissue, low in oxidant defense enzymes3 and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this paper, we adduce evidence in support of the general proposition that fib, and especially iron derived therefrom, may be particularly hazardous within the interstitium of the CNS, acting to promote oxidative damage to areas previously subject to hemorrhage.
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