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Exp Neurol. 1990 Nov;110(2):209-18.

Ischemic damage in the striatum of adult gerbils: relative sparing of somatostatinergic and cholinergic interneurons contrasts with loss of efferent neurons.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104.


The pattern of ischemia-induced cell death was examined with histochemical methods in the striatum of adult gerbils 4 and 7 days after transient forebrain ischemia. The results showed a massive loss of immunoreactivity to enkephalin and tachykinins, peptides present in striatal efferent neurons. In contrast, neurons expressing acetylcholinesterase activity, or choline acetyltransferase immunoreactivity, as well as neurons immunoreactive for somatostatin, were relatively preserved in areas of severe neuronal loss. The selective vulnerability of subpopulations of striatal neurons to transient ischemia in the adult is similar to that observed in the neonate and after local injections of agonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, but not of agonists of other glutamate receptor subtypes. It also presents striking similarities to the pattern of neuronal death observed in Huntington's disease. The results further support a role for overstimulation of a subtype of excitatory amino acid receptor in ischemia-induced cell death and show that the selective sparing of subpopulations of striatal interneurons after ischemic injury is not related to immaturity of these neurons but also occurs in the adult.

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