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PLoS One. 2009;4(3):e4764. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004764. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Identification of ischemic regions in a rat model of stroke.

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Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany.



Investigations following stroke first of all require information about the spatio-temporal dimension of the ischemic core as well as of perilesional and remote affected tissue. Here we systematically evaluated regions differently impaired by focal ischemia.


Wistar rats underwent a transient 30 or 120 min suture-occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) followed by various reperfusion times (2 h, 1 d, 7 d, 30 d) or a permanent MCAO (1 d survival). Brains were characterized by TTC, thionine, and immunohistochemistry using MAP2, HSP72, and HSP27. TTC staining reliably identifies the infarct core at 1 d of reperfusion after 30 min MCAO and at all investigated times following 120 min and permanent MCAO. Nissl histology denotes the infarct core from 2 h up to 30 d after transient as well as permanent MCAO. Absent and attenuated MAP2 staining clearly identifies the infarct core and perilesional affected regions at all investigated times, respectively. HSP72 denotes perilesional areas in a limited post-ischemic time (1 d). HSP27 detects perilesional and remote impaired tissue from post-ischemic day 1 on. Furthermore a simultaneous expression of HSP72 and HSP27 in perilesional neurons was revealed.


TTC and Nissl staining can be applied to designate the infarct core. MAP2, HSP72, and HSP27 are excellent markers not only to identify perilesional and remote areas but also to discriminate affected neuronal and glial populations. Moreover markers vary in their confinement to different reperfusion times. The extent and consistency of infarcts increase with prolonged occlusion of the MCA. Therefore interindividual infarct dimension should be precisely assessed by the combined use of different markers as described in this study.

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