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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2001 Jul 13;91(1-2):112-8.

DNA fragmentation in ischemic core and penumbra in focal cerebral ischemia in rats.

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Department of Medicine and Clinical Science, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Maidashi 3-1-1, Higashi-Ku, 812-8582, Fukuoka, Japan.


Although apoptotic cell death has been suggested to be involved in ischemic injury of the brain, the precise mechanisms of ischemic neuronal cell death are unknown. Here, we examined the biochemical feature of apoptosis (i.e. DNA fragmentation) in male spontaneously hypertensive rats (5-7 months old) subjected to photothrombotic distal middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. After MCA occlusion, the brain was cut in a cryostat to produce a standard coronal block and samples were dissected from the regions corresponding to the ischemic core, penumbra and contralateral control areas. Changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) were monitored at 1 mm posterior and 2-4 mm lateral to the bregma by means of a laser-Doppler flowmetry. After MCA occlusion, CBF was decreased to 72+/-18 (+/-S.D.), 50+/-14, and 35+/-11% of the control values at 2, 3, and 4 mm from the midline, respectively. DNA fragmentation characteristics of apoptosis were examined in these samples by conventional and pulse-field gel electrophoresis. On the conventional gel electrophoresis, nucleosomal DNA fragmentation was detected in the penumbral zone at 6 h after MCA occlusion. Large DNA fragments of 50 and 20 kbp were detected in the penumbral zone and also in the ischemic core region at 3 h after distal MCA occlusion. The large DNA fragments seen on the pulse-field gel elecrophoresis were further degraded to small DNA fragments at 6 h after MCA occlusion in the penumbral zone but not in the core regions. The evolving DNA fragmentation was observed between 3 and 6 h after the onset of brain ischemia in the penumbra, suggesting that apoptosis may contribute to the development of ischemic infarction.

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