Exo-focal postischemic neuronal death in the rat brain

Brain Res. 1990 Aug 6;524(2):196-202. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(90)90690-d.


We describe delayed neuronal damage in ipsilateral areas remote from the ischemic area of rat brain after transient focal ischemia induced by embolization of the right middle cerebral artery (MCA). After 15, 30, 60 and 90 min of MCA occlusion, recirculation was achieved by removal of the embolus. Chronological changes in the distribution of the neuronal damage were determined by using the 45Ca autoradiographic technique and the histological method, and the mechanism involved was investigated by measuring local cerebral glucose metabolism. Depending on the duration of ischemia, 45Ca accumulation extended to the lateral segment of the caudate putamen and to the cerebral cortex, both supplied by the occluded MCA. Moreover, 3 days after ischemic insult, 45Ca had accumulated in the ipsilateral substantia nigra and ventral posterior nucleus of the thalamus. Histological examination revealed that the neurons in both areas suffered damage and were selectively reduced in number. Cerebral glucose utilization decreased in the thalamus, but increased approximately 30% (P less than 0.01) in the substantia nigra compared with the value in the corresponding contralateral area. Both areas lie outside the ischemic area, but have transsynaptic connections with the ischemic focus. Based on the present study, we suggest that the mechanisms of delayed neuronal death in these two remote areas may not be identical, but that this phenomenon may be caused by a transsynaptic process associated with the ischemic focus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Radioisotopes
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / metabolism
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / pathology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Time Factors


  • Calcium Radioisotopes
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Calcium