In this issue of the JCI, Casas et al. define a previously unknown role of the NADPH oxidase catalytic subunit NOX5 in cerebral infarction. Using a mouse expressing human NOX5 in the endothelium, the investigators show that NOX5 is activated and plays a deleterious role in promoting edema, infarction, and ultimately, worsened neurological function following cerebral ischemia. They provide evidence that this is due to the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and that a unique pharmacological inhibitor of NOX5, ML090, if given early, around the time of reoxygenation, can maintain BBB integrity. Future studies of NOX5 inhibition in humans, particularly in the setting of thrombolysis, are warranted.
Luciana Simão do Carmo, Bradford C. Berk, David G. Harrison