Free radicals in cerebral ischemia.
The possibility that cerebral ischemia may initiate a series of pathological free radical reactions within the membrane components of the CNS was investigated in the cat. The normally occurring electron transport radicals require adequate molecular oxygen for orderly transport of electrons and protons. A decrease in tissue oxygen removes the controls over the electron transport radicals, and allows them to initiate pathologic radical reactions among cell membranes such as mitochondria. Pathologic radical reactions result in multiple products, each of which may be present in too small a concentration to permit their detection at early time periods. It is possible to follow the time course, however, by the decrease of a major antioxidant as it is consumed by the pathologic radical reactions. For this reason, ascorbic acid was measured in ischemic and control brain following middle cerebral artery occlusion. There was a progressive decrease in the amount of detectable ascorbic acid ranging from 25% at 1 hour to 65% at 24 hours after occlusion. The reduction of this normally occurring antioxidant and free radical scavenger may indicate consumption of ascorbic acid in an attempt to quench pathologic free radical reactions occurring within the components of cytomembranes.
- Copyright © 1978 by American Heart Association