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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2000 Jan;278(1):H290-4.

Estrogen status affects sensitivity to focal cerebral ischemia in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Wellcome Surgical Institute, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G61 1QH, United Kingdom.


Estrogen treatment has been shown to reduce ischemic brain damage. Because endogenous estrogen levels fluctuate markedly during the estrous cycle, we investigated the effect of stage of estrous cycle on ischemic brain damage. Halothane anesthetized 3- to 5-mo-old female Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) and stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) in proestrus (high estradiol levels) or metestrus (low estradiol levels) underwent permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. In SHRSP, infarct volume at 24 h postocclusion was 24% smaller in proestrus compared with metestrus [208.6 +/- 9.5 mm(3) (n = 7) vs. 272.7 +/- 23.8 mm(3) (n = 7), respectively, means +/- SE; P = 0.0278, unpaired t-test]. In WKY, infarct volumes were similar in proestrus and metestrus [157.0 +/- 5.4 mm(3) (n = 5) and 131.5 +/- 16.5 mm(3) (n = 8), respectively; P = not significant (NS)]. Brain swelling (ipsilateral minus contralateral hemispheric volumes) was similar in proestrus and metestrus for SHRSP [138 +/- 9 mm(3) (n = 6) and 136 +/- 10 mm(3) (n = 7), respectively] and for WKY [103 +/- 15 mm(3) (n = 5) and 90 +/- 11 mm(3) (n = 8), respectively]. Thus the reduction in infarct size in SHRSP is caused by a true attenuation of the infarct volume and not simply by a reduction in brain edema.

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