Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is the largest treatable cause of poor outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Nuclear Factor Kappa-light-chain-enhancer of Activated B cells (NF-kB), a transcription factor known to function as a pivotal mediator of inflammation, is upregulated in SAH and is pathologically associated with vasospasm. We previously showed that a brief exposure to isoflurane, an inhalational anesthetic, provided multifaceted protection against DCI after SAH. The aim of our current study is to investigate the role of NF-kB in isoflurane-conditioning-induced neurovascular protection against SAH-induced DCI. Twelve-week-old wild type male mice (C57BL/6) were divided into five groups: sham, SAH, SAH + Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC, a selective NF-kB inhibitor), SAH + isoflurane conditioning, and SAH + PDTC with isoflurane conditioning. Experimental SAH was performed via endovascular perforation. Anesthetic conditioning was performed with isoflurane 2% for 1 h, 1 h after SAH. Three doses of PDTC (100 mg/kg) were injected intraperitoneally. NF-kB and microglial activation and the cellular source of NF-kB after SAH were assessed by immunofluorescence staining. Vasospasm, microvessel thrombosis, and neuroscore were assessed. NF-kB was activated after SAH; it was attenuated by isoflurane conditioning. Microglia was activated and found to be a major source of NF-kB expression after SAH. Isoflurane conditioning attenuated microglial activation and NF-kB expression in microglia after SAH. Isoflurane conditioning and PDTC individually attenuated large artery vasospasm and microvessel thrombosis, leading to improved neurological deficits after SAH. The addition of isoflurane to the PDTC group did not provide any additional DCI protection. These data indicate isoflurane-conditioning-induced DCI protection after SAH is mediated, at least in part, via downregulating the NF-kB pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1163
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • NF-kB
  • aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • delayed cerebral ischemia
  • isoflurane
  • neuroprotection


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