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Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is one of the most potent endogenous vasoconstrictors, and its contribution to the multifactorial cascade of cerebral vasospasm due to nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is not yet fully understood. This experimental study compared the hemorrhage-specific course of NPY secretion into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and into plasma between 2 groups: patients with SAH and patients with basal ganglia hemorrhage (BGH) or cerebellar hemorrhage (CH) over the first 10 days after hemorrhage.Seventy-nine patients were prospectively included: SAH patients (n=66) (historic population) and intracerebral hemorrhage patients (n=13). All patients received an external ventricular drain within 24 hours of the onset of bleeding. CSF and plasma were drawn daily from day 1 to day 10. The levels of NPY were determined by means of competitive enzyme immunoassay. The CSF samples of 29 patients (historic population) who had undergone spinal anesthesia due to orthopedic surgery served as the control group.NPY levels in CSF were significantly higher in the 2 hemorrhage groups than in the control group. However, the 2 hemorrhage groups showed significant differences in NPY levels in CSF (SAH mean, 0.842 ng/mL vs. BGH/CH mean, 0.250 ng/mL; P<0.001) as well as in the course of NPY secretion into CSF over the 10-day period. NPY levels in plasma did not differ significantly among SAH, BGH/CH, and controls.Our findings support the hypothesis that excessive release of NPY into CSF but not into plasma is specific to aneurysmal SAH in the acute period of 10 days after hemorrhage. In BGH/CH, CSF levels of NPY were also increased, but the range was much lower.