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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Aug 19;20(16). pii: E4036. doi: 10.3390/ijms20164036.

Electrical Stimulation of the Mesencephalic Locomotor Region Has No Impact on Blood-Brain Barrier Alterations after Cerebral Photothrombosis in Rats.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Würzburg, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.
Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Würzburg, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption is a critical event after ischemic stroke, which results in edema formation and hemorrhagic transformation of infarcted tissue. BBB dysfunction following stroke is partly mediated by proinflammatory agents. We recently have shown that high frequency stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR-HFS) exerts an antiapoptotic and anti-inflammatory effect in the border zone of cerebral photothrombotic stroke in rats. Whether MLR-HFS also has an impact on BBB dysfunction in the early stage of stroke is unknown. In this study, rats were subjected to photothrombotic stroke of the sensorimotor cortex and implantation of a stimulating microelectrode into the ipsilesional MLR. Thereafter, either HFS or sham stimulation of the MLR was applied for 24 h. After scarifying the rats, BBB disruption was assessed by determining albumin extravasation and tight junction integrity (claudin 3, claudin 5, and occludin) using Western blot analyses and immunohistochemistry. In addition, by applying zymography, expression of pro-metalloproteinase-9 (pro-MMP-9) was analyzed. No differences were found regarding infarct size and BBB dysfunction between stimulated and unstimulated animals 24 h after induction of stroke. Our results indicate that MLR-HFS neither improves nor worsens the damaged BBB after stroke. Attenuating cytokines/chemokines in the perilesional area, as mediated by MLR-HFS, tend to play a less significant role in preventing the BBB integrity.


blood-brain barrier; deep brain stimulation; mesencephalic locomotor region; photothrombotic stroke; tight junctions

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