What is the role of NMDA receptor activation in the pathophysiology of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)?

Updated: Jul 18, 2018
  • Author: Santina A Zanelli, MD; Chief Editor: Dharmendra J Nimavat, MD, FAAP  more...
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NMDA receptor activation results in activation of neuronal NOS vias PSD-95 and results in the early and transient rise in NO concentration observed in the initial phase of hypoxia. Inducible NOS is expressed in response to the marked inflammation secondary to cerebral ischemia and results in a second wave of NO overproduction that can be prolonged for up to 4-7 days after the insult.

This excessive NO production plays an important role in the pathophysiology of perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. NO neurotoxicity depends in large part on rapid reaction with superoxide to form peroxynitrite. [12] This, in turn, leads to peroxynitrite-induced neurotoxicity, including lipid peroxidation, protein nitration and oxidation, mitochondrial damage and remodeling, depletion of antioxidant reserve, and DNA damage.

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