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Three-dimensional structure and survival of newly formed blood vessels after focal cerebral ischemia

Krupinski, Jerzy and Stroemer, Paul and Slevin, Mark and Marti, Eulalia and Kumar, Patricia and Rubio, Francisco (2003) Three-dimensional structure and survival of newly formed blood vessels after focal cerebral ischemia. Neuroreport, 14 (8). pp. 1171-6. ISSN 0959-4965

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Abstract

Penumbra tissue becomes highly angiogenic after ischaemic stroke in man, and the re-establishment of a functional vasculature might be beneficial to patients. Unilateral ischaemia was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by permanent occlusion of the distal left middle cerebral artery (MCAO). Animals with stroke were kept alive for 1, 7, 14, 21 or 28 days after which time they were terminally anaesthetized. Vascular casts of infarcted areas, analyzed by scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that radially arranged neocortical arterioles and venules lost their regular patterns within one day of occlusion, and soon afterwards started to form a very dense network of anastomosing microvessels. At 1 week, vascular budding was visible at many sites. The smallest microvessels (4-10 microm) formed connections with the surrounding proliferating vessels similar to those in the normal brain. Survival of microvascular endothelial cells (ECs) was studied by double labeling of tissue sections using immunohistochemistry and antibodies to caspase-3, and TUNEL staining for apoptotic cells. ECs demonstrated intensive staining for caspase-3 and also staining by TUNEL, particularly near the infarct border, 14 days post-MCAO. These data support the hypothesis that growing blood vessels in ischaemic tissue form new connections, the pattern of which is similar to that in normal rat brain, but different to those formed in growing tumours. This normal growth pattern might be essential in future therapies involving induction of vascularization and neuroprotection to enhance long-term survival of the penumbra.

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