Using stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive (SH-SP) rats with permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), we investigated the expression of wild type p53 (wt-p53) protein and the occurrence of DNA fragmentation in cerebral neurons after ischemia. Three days following MCA occlusion, terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL staining) revealed a distinct pattern of nuclear staining in many neurons around the ischemic core. On the lesioned side of the cerebral cortex one day after MCA occlusion, wt-p53 immunoreactivity was observed specifically in the cortical neurons, in the same regions as the TUNEL staining. Mutant type p53 (mt-p53) immunoreactivity was not observed at any time following MCA occlusion. These findings suggest that wt-p53 dependent cell death of cortical neurons occurred in the ischemic periphery following cerebral ischemia and that this pathway for the induction of cell death may play an important role in the exaggeration of cerebral ischemic injury.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.