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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1981 Nov-Dec;7(6):451-62.

A quantitative study of age-related changes in the vascular architecture of the rat cerebral cortex.


A quantitative study of age related changes in the vascular architecture of the rat cerebral cortex is described. A special vessel-filling technique, which allowed the simultaneous fixation of the vasculature, aided the identification of the vessels in histological sections. Vascular parameters, which included the total number of vessel fragments, a blood volume and a vessel wall-surface area index were obtained using a Quantimet 720 shape-analysing computer. In animals aged 13-83 weeks, there was an increase in the above vascular parameters which could mainly be attributed to an increase in the number of vessels with a diameter greater than 8 micrometers. In very old rats, aged 124 weeks, the vascularity of the cerebral cortex was severely reduced. These changes, which are very similar to those reported in the ageing human cerebral cortex, may be explained by either direct or indirect effects on the cerebral vasculature. Possible mechanisms are discussed in relation to similar changes observed in the cerebral vasculature after several different insults.

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