Spatial stability of extracellular potassium ion and blood flow distribution in rat cerebral cortex after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion

Thomas J. Sick, Zi Cai Feng, Myron Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Extracellular potassium ion activity ([K+]o) increases precipitously during brain ischemia when blood flow falls below threshold values less than approximately 15 mL/ 100 g/min. This flow threshold for increase of [K+]o occurs also in focal ischemia producing gradient from ischemic core to adjacent normally perfused brain. In this study we investigated the spatial and temporal stability of extracellular potassium ion and blood flow gradients after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats. [K+]o and regional CBF were measured, respectively, with K+-sensitive and polarographic hydrogen-sensitive microelectrodes at different cortical locations in the middle cerebral artery distribution region. Spatial assessment of [K+]o and regional CBF was conducted at 30, 90, and 180 minutes after MCAO. [K+]o in the more lateral cortex (core) increased from near 3 mmol/L before MCAO to greater than 50 mmol/L and was associated with flow values less than 25% of pre-ischemic levels. Measurements medial to the core (penumbra) indicated progressively decreasing levels of [K+]o and improvement of CBF. There was a tendency for [K+]o in penumbral zones to decrease toward normal levels with time, but there was little dissipation of [K+]o in core regions. In contrast, the spatial CBF profile remained remarkably constant for the entire recording period. Thus, unlike infarction which has been reported to expand with time after focal ischemia, the spatial [K+]o disturbance tends to contract primarily due to decreasing [K+]o with time in the penumbra. Thus, steady state levels of [K+]o after focal ischemia may not be a valuable predictor of cell viability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1114-11200
Number of pages10087
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998



  • Focal ischemia
  • Ion homeostasis
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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