We have shown that high-concentration albumin therapy is markedly neuroprotective in focal cerebral ischemia. The present study was conducted to ascertain the degree to which hemodynamic alterations are responsible for this therapeutic effect. Normothermic, physiologically regulated male Sprague-Dawley rats received a 2-h period of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) by insertion of an intraluminal suture coated with poly-L-lysine. Albumin (25% human serum albumin solution) or vehicle (0.9% sodium chloride) was administered intravenously at a dose of 1% of body weight immediately after suture withdrawal following 2-h MCAo. Local cerebral blood flow (LCBF) was measured autoradiographically with 14C - iodoantipyrine after 1 h of recirculation. Novel image-processing methods were used to compare average LCBF data sets against previously obtained infarction-frequency data on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Albumin therapy reduced mean hematocrit by 42% but produced no other systemic alterations. Pixel-based histopathological analysis revealed large, consistent cortical and subcortical infarcts in saline-treated rats with MCAo; albumin therapy reduced mean cortical infarct volume by 85%. Within regions showing albumin-associated neuroprotection, numbers of pixels having LCBF in the upper ischemic-core flow range (0.12- 0.24 ml g-1 min-1) were reduced by 8.6-fold by albumin therapy when compared to saline-treated rats; and numbers of pixels with LCBF in the lower penumbral flow range (0.24-0.36 ml g-1 min-1) were reduced by 3.1-fold in albumin-treated rats (p = 0.04 by repeated-measures analysis of variance). Analysis of the [albumin-saline] 3-dimensional difference-image data set revealed a circumferential zone of statistically significant albumin- associated LCBF increase within the posterior portion of the ischemic hemisphere, surrounding the core-region of prior ischemia. Thus, high- concentration albumin therapy improves local perfusion to regions of critical LCBF reduction. The spatial extent of this LCBF effect, however, appears too small to account fully for the marked neuroprotective efficacy of this therapy. We suggest that other, non-hemodynamic mechanisms may also be contributory.
- Cerebral blood flow
- Middle cerebral artery occlusion
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