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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2005 Jul;25(7):858-67.

Long-term in vivo investigation of mouse cerebral microcirculation by fluorescence confocal microscopy in the area of focal ischemia.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et Physiologie Moléculaire du Vaisseau, Paris, France.


This study was designed to assess that mouse pial and cortical microcirculation can be monitored in the long term directly in the area of focal ischemia, using in vivo fluorescence microscopy. A closed cranial window was placed over the left parieto-occipital cortex of C57BL/6J mice. Local microcirculation was recorded in real time through the window using laser-scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy after intravenous injection of fluorescent erythrocytes and dextran. The basal velocity of erythrocytes through intraparenchymal capillaries was 0.53+/-0.30 mm/sec (n=121 capillaries in 10 mice). Two branches of the middle cerebral artery were topically cauterized through the window. Blood flow evaluated by laser-Doppler flowmetry in two distinct areas indicated the occurrence of an ischemic core (15.2%+/-5.9% of baseline for at least 2 h) and a penumbral zone. Magnetic resonance imaging and histology were used to characterize the ischemic area at 24 h after occlusion. The infarct volume was 7.3+/-3.2 mm(3) (n=6). Microcirculation was repeatedly videorecorded using fluorescence confocal microscopy over the next month. After the decrease following arterial occlusion, capillary erythrocyte velocity was significantly higher than baseline 1 week later, and attained 0.74+/-0.51 mm/sec (n=76 capillaries in six mice, P<0.005) after 1 month, while venous and capillary network remodeling was assessed, with a marked decrease in tortuosity. Immunohistochemistry revealed a zone of necrotic tissue into the infarct epicenter, with activated astrocytes at its border. Such long-term investigations in ischemic cortex brings new insight into the microcirculatory changes induced by focal ischemia and show the feasibility of long-term fluorescence studies in the mouse cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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