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Chih-Lung Lin, Aij-Lie Kwan, Aaron S. Dumont, Yu-Feng Su, Neal F. Kassell, Chih-Jen Wang, Shu-Chuan Wu, Ching-Ling Kuo, Ching-Shan Huang, Arco Y. Jeng, and Chin-San Liu

Object

Adhesion molecules, including intercellular adhesion molecule–1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule–1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin, are important mediators of inflammation, and their levels are elevated in the serum of patients following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The investigators previously found that CGS 26303 is effective in preventing and reversing arterial narrowing in a rabbit model of SAH. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether levels of adhesion molecules are altered after treatment with CGS 26303 in this animal model.

Methods

New Zealand White rabbits were each injected with 3 ml of autologous blood in the cisterna magna, and intravenous treatment with CGS 26303 (30 mg/kg) was initiated 1 hour later. The compound was subsequently administered at 12, 24, and 36 hours post-SAH. Blood samples were collected at 48 hours post-SAH to measure ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin levels. After the rabbits had been killed by perfusion–fixation, the basilar arteries (BAs) were removed and sliced, and their cross-sectional areas were measured.

Treatment with CGS 26303 attenuated arterial narrowing after SAH. Morphologically, corrugation of the internal elastic lamina of BAs was prominently observed in the SAH only and vehicle-treated SAH groups, but not in the CGS 26303–treated SAH group or in healthy controls. There were no significant differences in the levels of VCAM-1 among the four groups. The levels of E-selectin were increased in all animals subjected to SAH (those in the SAH only, SAH plus vehicle, and SAH plus CGS 26303 groups) compared with healthy controls (no SAH); however, the levels of ICAM-1 in the SAH only and SAH plus vehicle groups were significantly elevated (p < 0.001), and treatment with CGS 26303 reduced ICAM-1 to control levels following SAH.

Conclusions

These results show that ICAM-1 may play a role in mediating SAH-induced vasospasm and that a reduction of ICAM-1 levels after SAH may partly contribute to the antispastic effect of CGS 26303.

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Aij-Lie Kwan, Murad Bavbek, Arco Y. Jeng, Wieslawa Maniara, Tomikatsu Toyoda, Rodney W. Lappe, Neal F. Kassell, and Kevin S. Lee

✓ Delayed cerebral ischemia due to cerebral vasospasm is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Increasing evidence implicates the potent vasoconstrictor peptide endothelin (ET) in the pathophysiology of cerebral vasospasm. In the present study the authors examined the therapeutic value of blocking the production of ET-1 by inhibiting the conversion of its relatively inactive precursor, Big ET-1, to a physiologically active form. An inhibitor of ET-converting enzyme (ECE), CGS 26303, was injected intravenously after inducing SAH in New Zealand white rabbits. Injections of CGS 26303 were initiated either 1 hour after SAH (prevention protocol) or 24 hours after SAH (reversal protocol). One of three concentrations (3, 10, or 30 mg/kg) of CGS 26303 was injected twice daily, and all animals were killed by perfusion fixation 48 hours after SAH occurred. Basilar arteries were removed and sectioned, and their cross-sectional areas were measured in a blind manner by using computer-assisted videomicroscopy.

Treatment with CGS 26303 attenuated arterial narrowing after SAH in both the prevention and reversal protocols. The protective effect of CGS 26303 achieved statistical significance at all dosages in the prevention protocol and at 30 mg/kg in the reversal protocol. These findings demonstrate that inhibiting the conversion of Big ET-1 to ET-1 via intravenous administration of an ECE inhibitor can be an effective strategy for limiting angiographic vasospasm after SAH. Moreover, the results demonstrate that treatment with the ECE inhibitor is capable of reducing vasospasm even when initiated after the process of arterial narrowing has begun. Finally, the results provide further support for the role of ET in the establishment of cerebral vasospasm. The ECE inhibitor CGS 26303 thus represents a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal SAH.

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Hakan H. Caner, Aij-Lie Kwan, Adam Arthur, Arco Y. Jeng, Rodney W. Lappe, Neal F. Kassell, and Kevin S. Lee

✓ The potent vasoconstrictor peptide, endothelin-1 (ET-1), has been implicated in the pathophysiology of cerebral vasospasm that occurs after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). This peptide is synthesized as a large prepropeptide that requires a series of modifying steps for its activation. The last of these steps involves the proteolytic conversion of a relatively inactive propeptide, Big ET-1, to its active, 21—amino acid peptide form. The enzyme responsible for converting Big ET-1 to ET-1 is a metalloprotease called endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE). In the present study the authors examined the effects of a newly developed inhibitor of ECE on responses to ET peptides in the normal basilar artery and on pathophysiological constriction in the spastic basilar artery after SAH.

In the first series of experiments the authors examined normal basilar arteries in the rabbit, which were exposed transclivally and measured on-line using videomicroscopy. Intravenous administration or topical application of an active inhibitor of ECE, CGS 26303, blocked vasoconstrictor responses to topically applied Big ET-1 but not to ET-1. In contrast, topical application of a structurally related compound that does not inhibit ECE, CGS 24592, was ineffective in blocking vasoconstriction that was elicited by a topical application of Big ET-1. These findings indicate that CGS 26303 when administered systemically is capable of blocking the conversion of Big ET-1 to ET-1 in the basilar artery without affecting the ability of the vessel to respond to ET-1. In the second series of experiments the authors examined the effects of the ECE inhibitor on cerebral vasospasm after experimental SAH. Intraperitoneal administration of CGS 26303 via osmotic minipumps significantly attenuated the delayed spastic response of the basilar artery to an intracisternal injection of autologous blood.

This study provides the first evidence that systemic administration of an inhibitor of ECE is capable of preventing cerebral vasospasm after SAH. The results reinforce a growing body of evidence that ETs play a critical role in the development of spastic constriction after SAH. Moreover, the findings indicate that blocking the conversion of Big ET-1 to its active ET-1 form using CGS 26303 may represent a feasible strategy for ameliorating cerebral vasospasm.