Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes are associated with severe functional disability and high mortality. Except for recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, therapies targeting the underlying pathophysiology of central nervous system (CNS) ischemia and hemorrhage are strikingly lacking. Sur1-regulated channels play essential roles in necrotic cell death and cerebral edema following ischemic insults, and in neuroinflammation after hemorrhagic injuries. Inhibiting endothelial, neuronal, astrocytic and oligodendroglial sulfonylurea receptor 1–transient receptor potential melastatin 4 (Sur1–Trpm4) channels and, in some cases, microglial KATP
(Sur1–Kir6.2) channels, with glibenclamide is protective in a variety of contexts. Robust preclinical studies have shown that glibenclamide and other sulfonylurea agents reduce infarct volumes, edema and hemorrhagic conversion, and improve outcomes in rodent models of ischemic stroke. Retrospective studies suggest that diabetic patients on sulfonylurea drugs at stroke presentation fare better if they continue on drug. Additional laboratory investigations have implicated Sur1 in the pathophysiology of hemorrhagic CNS insults. In clinically relevant models of subarachnoid hemorrhage, glibenclamide reduces adverse neuroinflammatory and behavioral outcomes. Here, we provide an overview of the preclinical studies of glibenclamide therapy for CNS ischemia and hemorrhage, discuss the available data from clinical investigations, and conclude with promising preclinical results that suggest glibenclamide may be an effective therapeutic option for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
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