Pharmacoresistant seizures and cytotoxic cerebral edema are serious complications of ischemic and traumatic brain injury. Intraneuronal Cl- concentration ([Cl-]i) regulation impacts on both cell volume homeostasis and Cl--permeable GABAA receptor-dependent membrane excitability. Understanding the pleiotropic molecular determinants of neuronal [Cl-]i - cytoplasmic impermeant anions, polyanionic extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins, and plasmalemmal Cl- transporters - could help the identification of novel anticonvulsive and neuroprotective targets. The cation/Cl- cotransporters and ECM metalloproteinases may be particularly druggable targets for intervention. We establish here a paradigm that accounts for recent data regarding the complex regulatory mechanisms of neuronal [Cl-]i and how these mechanisms impact on neuronal volume and excitability. We propose approaches to modulate [Cl-]i that are relevant for two common clinical sequela of brain injury: edema and seizures.
Keywords: GABA; KCC2; NKCC1; brain development; cerebral edema; chloride; extracellular matrix; inhibition; seizures; traumatic brain injury.
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