Background: Glutamate and glutamate transporters (GTs) (including glutamate/aspartate transporter, glutamate transporter-1, and excitatory amino acid carrier 1) have important roles in the pathogenesis of ischemic neurological injury. The changes in glutamate, GTs, and neuronal injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) have not been widely investigated. In this study, we examined the changes in extracellular glutamate concentration, GTs, wall thickness of basilar arteries (BAs), and neuronal degeneration in experimental SAH rats. Methods: An intrathecal microdialysis probe was inserted into male Sprague Dawley rats. SAH was induced using a double-hemorrhage model. To measure glutamate concentrations, extracellular dialysates were collected for 30 minutes before, and daily for 7 days after SAH. Changes in neurological scores, body weight, and BA wall thickness were measured. The neuron degeneration in the hippocampus and the changes of GTs in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus were measured. Results: Glutamate concentrations were significantly higher in SAH rats from day (D)1 to D7 after SAH compared with the sham rats, especially at D1. A significant body weight reduction and neurological defects were observed at D3 after SAH. The walls of BAs in SAH rats were significantly thicker compared with those of sham rats; the maximum change was observed at D7. Hippocampal neuronal degeneration was observed after SAH and the highest severity was at D7. The expression of GTs was downregulated after SAH and persisted for 7 days. Conclusions: SAH induced in the double-hemorrhage rat model may produce an excessive and prolonged increase of extracellular glutamate concentrations and downregulation of GTs, which are accompanied by BA wall thickness, and hippocampal neuronal degeneration.
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