Cerebral embolic ischemia in rats: correlation of stroke severity and functional deficit as important outcome parameter

Brain Res. 2007 Jan 26;1130(1):188-96. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.10.087. Epub 2006 Dec 8.


The embolic MCA occlusion model in rats is used for recanalisation studies in acute stroke. In addition to the determination of lesion size, the assessment of functional outcome may improve the value of this model. Male Wistar rats were submitted to MCA clot embolism or sham surgery. In order to achieve a larger variety of lesion volume, 2 subgroups (each 7 animals) were subjected to differently sized emboli (30 and 40 mm). Follow-up period was 6 days. Outcome assessment consisted of a test battery including parallel bar crossing, observation of behaviour in an open field and an 8-arm maze and a neurological score with ten different sensorimotor and coordinative items. Animals were perfusion-fixed on day 7 (blinded examination). For both subgroups, there were significant impairments with regard to performance on the Neuro score, parallel bar crossing and maze exploration. Improvement was only partial during the follow-up period. On follow-up day 6, there was still a significant correlation between total infarct volume and functional outcome on the Neuro score (R=0.80, p=0.0006) and the exploration behaviour in the maze (R=0.66, p=0.01). Application of emboli with a length of 40 mm caused more functional impairment and a more extended lesion volume compared with 30 mm. We present outcome tests that provide quantitative and objective tools to test functional impairment in rats following embolic stroke.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavioral Research / methods
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Intracranial Embolism / complications*
  • Intracranial Embolism / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Embolism / therapy
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome