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J Neurosci. 2003 Dec 17;23(37):11602-10.

Delayed secondary phase of peri-infarct depolarizations after focal cerebral ischemia: relation to infarct growth and neuroprotection.

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  • 1Division of Neurosciences, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA.


In focal cerebral ischemia, peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) cause an expansion of core-infarcted tissue into adjacent penumbral regions of reversible injury and have been shown to occur through 6 hr after injury. However, infarct maturation proceeds through 24 hr. Therefore, we studied PID occurrence through 72 hr after both transient and permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) via continuous DC recordings in nonanesthetized rats. PIDs occurred an average 13 times before reperfusion at 2 hr and then ceased for an average approximately 8 hr. After this quiescent period, PID activity re-emerged in a secondary phase, which reached peak incidence at 13 hr and consisted of a mean 52 PIDs over 2-24 hr. This phase corresponded to the period of infarct maturation; rates of infarct growth through 24 hr coincided with changes in PID frequency and peaked at 13 hr. In permanent MCAo, PIDs also occurred in a biphasic pattern with a mean of 78 events over 2-24 hr. Parameters of secondary phase PID incidence correlated with infarct volumes in transient and permanent ischemia models. The role of secondary phase PIDs in infarct development was further investigated in transient MCAo by treating rats with a high-affinity NMDA receptor antagonist at 8 hr after injury, which reduced post-treatment PID incidence by 57% and provided 37% neuroprotection. Topographic mapping with multielectrode recordings revealed multiple sources of PID initiation and patterns of propagation. These results suggest that PIDs contribute to the recruitment of penumbral tissue into the infarct core even after the restoration of blood flow and throughout the period of infarct maturation.

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