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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1991 Feb;17(1):61-7.

Triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) as a marker for ischaemic changes in rat brain following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion.

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Merck, Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories, Neuroscience Research Centre, Harlow.


Triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) was used to delineate ischaemic lesions in the rat brain at various times following middle cerebral artery occlusion. A comparison was made of TTC staining by immersion and perfusion techniques and conventional light microscopy. The lesions were quantified by measuring the ischaemic area at the sections corresponding to 7 mm in front of the AO line (atlas of Konig and Klippel). In animals examined 24 h after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), the area of infarction was 17.4 +/- 1.3 mm2 on the TTC perfused slices and 17.6 +/- 1.6 mm2 on the TTC immersed slices (mean +/- SEM). By contrast, there was a marked difference between the two TTC methods when tissues were examined at shorter intervals after artery occlusion. In the TTC-perfused animals, there was no significant difference between the mean areas of infarction measured at 5-20 min, 3-4 h, or 24 h post occlusion. Immersion in TTC, however, failed to reveal any consistent ischaemic damage when applied at the earlier post-occlusion times. Conventional histopathology demonstrated minimal lesions at 5-20 min but at 4 h or more the lesions were not significantly different from those demonstrated by TTC perfusion. TTC immersion staining can, thus, only be used as a reliable marker of cerebral ischaemia damage with post-occlusion survival periods of 24 h. TTC perfusion staining gives results not significantly different from histopathology at 4 h or more post-occlusion but at earlier intervals than 24 h it differs significantly from TTC immersion staining.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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