Chronic bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO) induces moderate ischemia (oligemia) in the rat forebrain in the absence of overt neuronal damage. In situ hybridization for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA was used to search for a molecular response to moderate ischemia. BDNF mRNA was significantly increased in the hippocampal granule cells at 6 h of occlusion (ANOVA, Tukey test P<0.05). At 1, 7 and 14 days BDNF mRNA levels returned to control levels. The frequency of BDNF gene expression at 6 h was 83%, which was significantly higher than the 7% incidence of histological injury in the hippocampus (Fisher's exact test, P<0.002). Cerebral blood flow was reduced to 75% of control levels in the hippocampus after 1 week of BCCAO when measured with the autoradiographic method. Measurements of tissue flow with a microprobe for laser Doppler flow excluded decreases into the ischemic range during the period when elevated gene expression was observed. Prolonged moderate ischemia (oligemia) is a sufficient stimulus for BDNF gene expression in the hippocampus. These molecular studies provide direct evidence for an involvement of the hippocampus in the BCCAO model.
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Cerebral blood flow
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience