Background and Purpose - We have recently shown high-dose human serum albumin therapy to confer marked histological protection in experimental middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). We have now used diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) in conjunction with morphological methods to expand our understanding of this therapeutic approach. Methods - Physiologically controlled Sprague-Dawley rats received 2-hour MCAo by the modified intraluminal suture method. Treated rats received 25% human serum albumin solution (1% by body weight) immediately after the MCA was reopened. Vehicle-treated rats received saline. Computer-based image averaging was used to analyze DWI data obtained 24 hours after MCAo and light-microscopic histopathology obtained at 3 days. In a matched series, plasma osmolality and colloid oncotic pressure, as well as brain water content, were determined. Results - Albumin therapy, which lowered the hematocrit on average by 37% and raised plasma colloid oncotic pressure by 56%, improved the neurological score throughout the 3-day survival period. Within the ischemic focus, the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) computed from DWI data declined by 40% in vehicle-treated rats but was preserved at near-normal levels (8% decline) in albumin-treated rats (P<0,001). Albumin also led to higher ADC values within unlesioned brain regions. Histology revealed large consistent cortical and subcortical infarcts in vehicle-treated rats, while albumin therapy reduced infarct volume at these sites, on average, by 84% and 33%, respectively. Total infarct volume was reduced by 66% and brain swelling was virtually eliminated by albumin treatment. Microscopically, while infarcted regions of vehicle-treated rats had the typical changes of pannecrosis, infarcted zones of albumin-treated brains showed persistence of vascular endothelium and prominent microglial activation, suggesting that albumin therapy may help to preserve the neuropil within zones of residual infarction. Conclusions - These findings confirm the striking neuroprotective efficacy of albumin therapy in focal cerebral ischemia and reveal that this effect is associated with DWI normalization and a mitigation of pannecrotic changes within zones of residual injury.
- Colloid oncotic pressure
- Image processing, computer- assisted
- Middle cerebral artery occlusion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine