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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2003 Jan;23(1):43-50.

Cortical spreading depression causes a long-lasting decrease in cerebral blood flow and induces tolerance to permanent focal ischemia in rat brain.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6070, USA.


Cortical spreading depression (CSD) has previously been shown to induce tolerance to a subsequent episode of transient cerebral ischemia. The objective of the present study was to determine whether CSD also induces tolerance to permanent focal ischemia and, if so, whether tolerance may be mediated by alterations in cerebral blood flow (CBF). Sprague-Dawley rats were preconditioned by applying potassium chloride to one hemisphere for 2 hours, evoking 19 +/- 5 episodes of CSD (mean +/- SD, n = 19). Three days later, the middle cerebral artery (MCA) was permanently occluded using an intraluminal suture. In a subset of animals, laser Doppler blood flow (LDF) was monitored over the parietal cortex before and during the first 2 hours of MCA occlusion. Preconditioning with CSD reduced the hemispheric volume of infarction from 248 +/- 115 mm3 (n = 18) in sham-conditioned animals to 161 +/- 81 mm3 (n = 19, P< 0.02). Similarly, CSD reduced the neocortical volume of infarction from 126 +/- 82 mm3 to 60 +/- 61 mm3 (P < 0.01). Moreover, preconditioning with CSD significantly improved LDF during MCA occlusion from 21% +/- 7% (n = 9) of preischemic baseline in sham-conditioned animals to 29% +/- 9% (n = 7, P< 0.02). Preconditioning with CSD therefore preserved relative levels of CBF during focal ischemia and reduced the extent of infarction resulting from permanent MCA occlusion. To determine whether CSD may have altered preischemic baseline CBF, [14 C]iodoantipyrine was used in additional animals to measure CBF 3 days after CSD conditioning or sham conditioning. CSD, but not sham conditioning, significantly reduced baseline CBF in the ipsilateral neocortex to values 67% to 75% of those in the contralateral cortex. Therefore, CSD causes a long-lasting decrease in baseline CBF that is most likely related to a reduction in metabolic rate. A reduction in the rate of metabolism may contribute to the induction of tolerance to ischemia after preconditioning with CSD.

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