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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 Apr;21(4):413-21.

Patency of cerebral microvessels after focal embolic stroke in the rat.

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Department of Neurology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


In patients with thrombotic stroke, the occluded artery often reopens over time. This results through a natural dissolution of the occluding material, and fragments of the material may move downstream to obstruct distal arteries. The current study was undertaken to investigate the patency of brain microvessels at varying time intervals after injection of a preformed clot into the right internal carotid artery of rats. Cerebral microvessels in brain sections were visualized using immunohistochemistry for fibronectin (detecting existing microvessels) and Evans blue (visualizing perfused microvessels). The percentage of patent microvessels was calculated as the number of Evans blue-positive microvessels divided by the number of fibronectin-positive microvessels. In normal control animals, results showed that 98% +/- 3% (mean +/- SD) of microvessels in the cortex and 94% +/- 14% in the striatum were patent. In the ischemic animals, immediately after clot injection, microvessels in the cortex and striatum were occluded, mainly in the territory irrigated by the middle cerebral artery. One hour after clot injection, microvessels had reopened in most of the cortex but remained occluded in some portions of the striatum, possibly as a result of downstream movement of fragments formed from the original clot. By 3 hours after clot injection, microvessels in the cortex were patent in all animals, whereas in the striatum microvessels were patent in 50% of the animals. In the other 50%, small striatal perfusion deficits persisted. At 24 hours after clot injection, microvessels were patent in both the cortex and striatum of all animals except one. These findings suggest that intracerebral clots dissolve spontaneously in a relatively short period of time, but that fragments formed from the clot may obstruct more distal blood vessels. It is likely that clot fragments lodge in arteries with lower blood flow and poor collateral perfusion, where they continue to cause ischemia for a longer duration. These results may in part explain the resistance of the striatum to neuroprotective strategies used for the treatment of focal cerebral ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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