Sequential analysis of subacute and chronic neuronal, astrocytic and microglial alterations after transient global ischemia in rats.

B. Lin, M. D. Ginsberg, R. Busto, W. D. Dietrich

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52 Scopus citations


Recent experimental investigations have emphasized the importance of assessing both acute and chronic histopathological changes occurring after cerebral ischemia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the temporal profile of neuronal, astrocytic and microglial alterations within vulnerable regions (striatum and CA1 sector of hippocampus) following transient global ischemia. Anesthetized Wistar rats underwent 10 min of normothermic (37 degrees C) ischemia induced by bilateral carotid ligations plus hypotension (45-50 mm Hg) and were allowed to survive for periods ranging from 1 to 10 weeks (n=4-6/group) prior to quantitative histopathological analysis. Adjacent sections were examined by hematoxylin-and-eosin histopathology, immunostaining for glial fibrillary acidic protein, and B4-isolectin immunochemistry for microglia. In the striatum, normal-neuron counts were first decreased significantly at 2 weeks after the ischemic insult. Neuronal loss was associated with the proliferation of reactive microglia, which peaked at 1 week. By contrast, reactive astrocytosis displayed a more protracted pattern, with peak activation at 2 weeks. In the CA1 hippocampus, a decreased number of normal neurons was seen at 1 week post ischemia, together with a significant increase in immunoreactive microglia at that time; the latter normalized after 2 weeks. Reactive astrocytes in the CA1 hippocampus were significantly increased at 1-2 weeks after ischemia. In a subgroup of severely injured animals, foci of frank striatal infarction were associated with early and severe microglial and astrocytic proliferation at week 4 or later. Finally, cerebrovascular changes included endothelial disruption within affected areas. These observations document a subacute and chronic sequence of cellular responses following brief periods of global ischemia, involving both neurons, glia and vascular endothelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-523
Number of pages13
JournalActa neuropathologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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