Role of nitric oxide in cerebral blood flow abnormalities after traumatic brain injury

Roman Hlatky, J. Clay Goodman, Alex B. Valadka, Claudia S. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) has important regulatory functions within the central nervous system. NO is oxidized in vivo to nitrate and nitrite (NOx). Measurement of these products gives an index of NO production. The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between the brain extracellular concentration of NO metabolites and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after severe traumatic brain injury. Using a chemiluminescence method, NOx concentrations were measured in 6,701 microdialysate samples obtained from 60 patients during the first 5 d after severe head injury. Regional and global values of CBF obtained by xenon-enhanced computed tomography were used for analyses. Dialysate NOx values were the highest within the first 24 h after brain trauma and gradually decreased over the 5 postinjury d (time effect, P < 0.001). Mean dialysate concentration of NOx was 15.5 ± 17.6 μmol/L (minimum 0.3, maximum 461 μmol/L) and 65% of samples were between 5 and 20 μmol/L. There was a significant relation between regional CBF and dialysate NOx levels (r2 = 0.316, P < 0.001). Dialysate NOx levels (9.5 ± 2.2 μmol/L) in patients with critical reduction of regional CBF (<18 mL · 100 g-1 · min-1) were significantly lower than in patients with normal CBF (18.6 ± 8.1 μmol/L; P < 0.001). This relation between the dialysate concentration of NOx and regional CBF suggests some role for NO in the abnormalities of CBF that occur after traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injury
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Intracerebral microdialysis
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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