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Exp Neurol. 1998 Nov;154(1):199-212.

An integrated analysis of the progression of cell responses induced by permanent focal middle cerebral artery occlusion in the rat.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.


Defining the chronology and severity of cell damage in an evolving lesion after ischemia is important for understanding the underlying mechanisms in the development of therapeutic intervention. In the present study, we used a combination of histological and immunocytochemical methods to evaluate cell responses from 30 min to 48 h after permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) in the rat. Specific immunocytochemical markers clearly revealed acute early responses in neurons (neurofilament protein 200), astrocytes (glial fibrillary acidic protein), and microglia/macrophages (OX-42 and ED-1) such as enlarged, convoluted neuronal processes, and disintegration of glia. Progressive topographic changes in the developing lesion, pinpointed by immunolabeling, indicated the severity and extension of the cell damage. Proliferation and hypertrophy of astrocytes and microglia around the infarct, and contralaterally, occurred 24-48 h after MCAO and coincided with mass necrosis and infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages into the core. These observations corroborate the suggestion that the inflammatory process is involved in the progression of the infarct.

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