The novel neuroprotective action of sulfasalazine through blockade of NMDA receptors

Bo Rum Ryu, Young Ae Lee, Seok Joon Won, Ji Hyun Noh, Su Youne Chang, Jun Mo Chung, Jun Sub Choi, Choun Ki Joo, Sung Hwa Yoon, Byoung Joo Gwag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Sulfasalazine is widely used to treat inflammatory diseases. Besides anti-inflammatory actions such as blockade of nuclear factor-κB and cyclooxygenases, we found that 30 to 1000 μM sulfasalazine dose dependently blocked N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated excitotoxicity without intervening kainate or α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid neurotoxicity. The neuroprotective effects of sulfasalazine were attributable to prevention of Ca2+ influx and accumulation through N-methyI methyl-D-aspartate receptors as a low-affinity antagonist. The systemic administration of sulfasalazine reduced neuronal death following transient cerebral and retinal ischemia in adult rat. The present findings suggest that the neuroprotective action of sulfasalazine can be therapeutically applied to halt devastating neuronal death following hypoxic ischemia, trauma, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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