Heme oxygenase-1 and ferritin are increased in cerebral arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage in monkeys

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2000 Jul;20(7):1066-76. doi: 10.1097/00004647-200007000-00006.


Hemoglobin is a key factor in the production of cerebral vasospasm. Metabolism of hemoglobin involves breakdown of heme by heme oxygenase (HO) and sequestration of the released iron in ferritin. We determined whether subarachnoid hemorrhage induces these proteins in cerebral arteries and, if so, in which cells they are produced. Whether the changes correlated with vasospasm also was investigated. Subarachnoid hemorrhage was created in monkeys, and vasospasm was assessed by angiography in cohorts of animals killed 3, 7, or 14 days after the hemorrhage. Ferritin and HO-1 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein were measured by competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting in hemorrhage-side and control-side cerebral arteries and brain tissue. The location of these proteins was determined by immunohistochemistry. There was significant vasospasm 3 and 7 days but not 14 days after subarachnoid hemorrhage. There were no significant changes in mRNA for HO-1 or ferritin in cerebral arteries or brain tissue at any time. There was a significant increase in HO-1 and ferritin protein in hemorrhage-side compared with control-side cerebral arteries at 3, 7, and 14 days. The increase in HO-1 protein was maximal at 3 days, whereas the increase in ferritin protein was maximal at 7 days. There was no detectable increase in HO-1 or ferritin protein in brain tissue at any time. Immunohistochemistry localized HO-1 protein and ferritin to cells in the adventitia of the arterial wall. We show that subarachnoid hemorrhage is associated with a significant increase in HO-1 and ferritin proteins in cerebral arteries that begins at least as early as 3 days after the hemorrhage and that persists for up to 14 days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Arteries / metabolism*
  • Ferritins / genetics
  • Ferritins / metabolism*
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / genetics
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / metabolism*
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / complications
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / etiology
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ferritins
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Heme Oxygenase-1