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Brain Res. 1999 Oct 9;844(1-2):55-66.

Three-dimensional measurement of cerebral microvascular plasma perfusion, glial fibrillary acidic protein and microtubule associated protein-2 immunoreactivity after embolic stroke in rats: a double fluorescent labeled laser-scanning confocal microscopic study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, 2799 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


Early astroglial response to post-ischemic microvascular hypoperfusion may contribute to progressive cerebral microcirculatory impairment and ischemic neuronal injury. Using laser-scanning confocal microscopy and three fluorescent probes, we measured in three-dimensions cerebral microvascular plasma perfusion, astrocytic reactivity, and neuronal injury assessed by fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran, GFAP immunoreactivity, and microtubule associated protein-2 (MAP2) immunoreactivity, respectively, in rats subjected to 2 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion. Three-dimensional quantitative analysis revealed that 2 h of embolic ischemia resulted in a significant (P<0.05) reduction of cerebral microvascular plasma perfusion in the ipsilateral cortex and subcortex. Tissue within the ipsilateral cortex and subcortex with low plasma perfusion exhibited a significant (P<0.05) increase in GFAP immunoreactivity compared with the homologous contralateral tissue. Three-dimensional re-constructed images showed that prominent GFAP immunoreactive astrocytes surrounded large vessels with decreased plasma perfusion in downstream capillaries in the ipsilateral MCA territory when compared to the vessels in the contralateral homologous tissue. Triple fluorescence probe-stained sections showed that tissue with decreased plasma perfusion and with increased GFAP immunoreactivity was accompanied by a reduction of MAP2 immunoreactivity. The present study demonstrates that an impairment of microvascular perfusion induces an early increase in GFAP immunoreactivity, and reactive astrocytes may contribute to a further reduction of cerebral microvascular plasma perfusion. The three-dimensional quantitative imaging analysis used in the present study provides a means to investigate parenchymal cellular responses to changes of cerebral microvascular plasma perfusion after MCA occlusion.

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