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Stroke. 2000 May;31(5):1153-61.

Leukocyte accumulation and hemodynamic changes in the cerebral microcirculation during early reperfusion after stroke.

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University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, AZ, USA.



Leukocytes contribute to cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, few experimental models examine both in vivo behavior of leukocytes and microvascular rheology after stroke. The purpose of the present study was to characterize patterns of leukocyte accumulation in the cerebral microcirculation and to examine the relationship between leukocyte accumulation and microcirculatory hemodynamics after middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion (MCAO-R).


Male rats (250 to 350 g) were anesthetized and ventilated. Tail catheters were inserted for measurement of arterial blood gases and administration of drugs. Body temperature was maintained at 37 degrees C. Animals were subjected to 2 hours of MCAO by the filament method. A cranial-window preparation was performed, and the brain was superfused with warm, aerated artificial cerebrospinal fluid. Reperfusion was initiated by withdrawing the filament, and the pial microcirculation was observed by use of intravital fluorescence microscopy. Leukocyte accumulation in venules, arterioles, and capillaries; leukocyte rolling in venules; and leukocyte venular shear rate were assessed during 1 hour of reperfusion.


We found significant leukocyte adhesion in cerebral venules during 1 hour of reperfusion after 2 hours of MCAO. Leukocyte trapping in capillaries and adhesion to arterioles after MCAO-R tended to increase compared with controls, but the increase was not significant. We also found that shear rate was significantly reduced in venules during early reperfusion after MCAO.


A model using the filament method of stroke and fluorescence microscopy was used to examine white-cell behavior and hemodynamics in the cerebral microcirculation after MCAO-R. We observed a significant increase in leukocyte rolling and adhesion in venules and a significant decrease in blood shear rate in the microcirculation of the brain during early reperfusion. Leukocytes may activate and damage the blood vessels and surrounding brain cells, which contributes to an exaggerated inflammatory component to reperfusion. The model described can be used to examine precisely blood cell-endothelium interactions and hemodynamic changes in the microcirculation during postischemic reperfusion. Information from these and similar experiments may contribute to our understanding of the early inflammatory response in the brain during reperfusion after stroke.

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