Interrelationships between increased vascular permeability and acute neuronal damage following temperature-controlled brain ischemia in rats

W. D. Dietrich, M. Halley, I. Valdes, R. Busto

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119 Scopus citations


This study examined regional patterns of increased vascular permeability and morphological indicators of acute neuronal injury following normothermic and mildly hyperthermic forebrain ischemia. Rats underwent 20 min of four-vessel occlusion during which intraischemic brain temperature was maintained at either 37°C or 39°C. At 45-min recirculation, the blood-brain barrier (BBB)-tracer horseradish peroxidase was injected and rats were perfusion-fixed at 1-h recirculation for light and electron microscopic analysis. In normothermic and hyperthermic rats, sites of increased vascular permeability were spatially correlated with dark shrunken type IV neurons. Neuronal alterations within cortical, hippocampal, striatal, and thalamic areas ranged from mild cytoplasmic vacuolation and mitochondrial swelling to severe cytoplasmic shrinkage and increased density. Although dark shrunken neurons were routinely associated with permeable blood vessels in both temperature groups, dark neurons were not detected in regions demonstrating an intact BBB. Following normothermic brain ischemia, the appearance of dark shrunken neurons was restricted to the cerebral cortex and striatum. In both temperature groups, luminal leukocytes were detected within otherwise well-perfused forebrain microvascular beds. Our studies suggest a close interrelationship between postischemic microvascular abnormalities, including increased vascular permeability, and morphological indicators of acute neuronal injury following brain ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-625
Number of pages11
JournalActa neuropathologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 1991



  • Brain temperature
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Hyperthermia
  • Reperfusion injury
  • Vascular permeability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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