Sequential development of reversible and irreversible neuronal damage following cerebral ischemia

C. K. Petito, W. A. Pulsinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


The ultrastructure of reversibly injured cortical neurons and irreversibly injured striatal neurons was studied at 3, 15, 30, and 120 minutes (min) and 24 hours (h) following severe cerebral ischemia produced in rats by permanent occlusion of the vertebral arteries and 30 min occlusion of the carotid arteries. Animals meeting the established criterion of unresponsiveness had widespread neuronal death in the dorsolateral striatum, but no permanent damage in the paramedian cortex. Reversible mitochondrial swelling at three min was followed by dissocation of polyribosomes, decrease in rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) profiles, and transformation of Golgi apparatus into large clusters of small vesicles by 120 min after reperfusion, followed by progressive cell shrinkage and ischemic cell change. Approximately 10-15% of striatal neurons contained cytoplasmic membranous whorls, some continuous with the plasma membrane. The results suggest that structural abnormalities in the Golgi apparatus and in plasma membranes may participate in functional changes critical to irreversible neuronal injury following cerebral ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1984


  • Cerebral
  • Golgi apparatus
  • Ischemia
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurons
  • Plasma membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Sequential development of reversible and irreversible neuronal damage following cerebral ischemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this