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Brain Res. 2005 Aug 16;1053(1-2):1-9.

Cerebral ischemia induced apoptosis and necrosis in normal and diabetic rats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 5374 Scott Hall, 540 E. Canfield, Detroit, MI 48201-1928, USA.


Stroke is the third leading cause of death and disability, and the risk for ischemic stroke is greater in diabetics. Previous studies have demonstrated both structural and functional nervous system changes in diabetes, and these changes may be enhanced by apoptosis. In the present study, we evaluated several indexes of both necrosis and apoptosis in the CNS of normals and two different models of diabetes (insulinopenic and insulin-resistant). Studies were conducted following middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) with or without reperfusion. The sensory motor cortex (layer-5 and -6) and the CA1 and CA3 sectors of the hippocampus were analyzed following MCAO. We observed that both insulinopenic and insulin-resistant diabetic rats have increased basal level of apoptosis that is uniformly and bilaterally distributed as indicated by both caspase-3 activity and TUNEL staining. Twenty-four hours after MCAO, apoptosis was further increased in both diabetic models. Reperfusion after a 2 h MCAO compared to 24 h MCAO was associated with a decrease in TUNEL staining and caspase-3 activity in the control animal but exacerbated apoptosis, especially in the hippocampus of insulin-resistant diabetic rats. MCAO-induced lesion volumes were greater in insulinopenic rats compared to insulin-resistant and control rats. We conclude that both insulinopenic and insulin-resistant diabetic animals have increased apoptosis in the CNS in response to MCAO, and restoration of blood flow especially in the insulinopenic diabetic animals paradoxically exacerbates this process. Furthermore, restoration of blood flow did not decrease lesion volume in insulinopenic diabetic animals.

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