Hypoxic-ischemic oligodendroglial injury in neonatal rat brain

Pediatr Res. 2002 Jan;51(1):25-33. doi: 10.1203/00006450-200201000-00007.


Neonatal periventricular white matter injury is a major contributor to chronic neurologic dysfunction. In a neonatal rat stroke model, myelin basic protein (MBP) immunostaining reveals acute periventricular white matter injury. Yet, the extent to which myelin proteins can recover after neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury is unknown. We developed a quantitative method to correlate the severity of the hypoxic-ischemic insult with the magnitude of loss of MBP immunostaining. Seven-day-old (P7) rats underwent right carotid ligation, followed by exposure to 8% oxygen for 1, 1.5, 2, or 2.5 h. On both P12 and P21, white matter integrity was evaluated by densitometric analysis of MBP immunostaining, and the amount of tissue injury was evaluated by morphometric measurements of cerebral hemisphere areas. The most severe hypoxic-ischemic insults (2.5 h) elicited marked reductions in MBP immunostaining ipsilaterally on both P12 and P21. In contrast, in mildly lesioned animals (1.5 h), MBP immunostaining was reduced ipsilaterally on P12, but 2 wk after lesioning, on P21, there was a substantial restoration of MBP immunostaining. The restoration in MBP immunostaining could reflect either functional recovery of injured oligodendroglia or proliferation and maturation of oligodendroglial precursors. Our data demonstrate that quantitative measurement of MBP immunostaining provides a sensitive indicator of acute oligodendroglial injury. Most importantly, we show that in this neonatal rodent stroke model, restoration of myelin proteins occurs after moderate, but not after more severe, cerebral hypoxia-ischemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / pathology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley