Neurological assessment scores in rabbit embolic stroke models

Open Neurol J. 2013 Oct 31;7:38-43. doi: 10.2174/1874205X01307010038. eCollection 2013.


Background: Neurological outcomes and behavioral assessments are widely used in animal models of stroke, but assessments in rabbit models are not fully validated. The wryneck model of neurological assessment scores (NAS) was compared to percent infarct volume (%IV) values (infarct volume is a proven clinical indicator of stroke severity) and arterial occlusion localization in three rabbit angiographic stroke models.

Hypothesis: NAS values will correlate with percent infarct volume values.

Methods: Anesthetized New Zealand White rabbits (N=131, 4-5 kg) received internal carotid artery emboli by angiographic catheter introduced into the femoral artery and occlusions were characterized. Rabbits were evaluated at 24 hours post embolism using the NAS test of 0 (normal) to 10 (death). Deficit criteria included neck twist, righting reflex, extension reflex in hind paw and forepaw, and posture. Brain sections stained with triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) were analyzed for %IV. Volume of the infarct was measured and calculated as a percent of the total brain volume.

Results: The aggregate correlation for NAS values vs. %IV values was R=0.61, p<0.0001, a strong positive relationship, while correlations of the NAS components ranged from R=0.28-0.46. Occlusionsof the posterior cerebral artery vs. the middle cerebral artery alone produced significantly greater deficit scores at p<0.0001.

Conclusions: These positive results validate the NAS system in the rabbit angiographic embolic stroke model.

Keywords: Animal models; clots; microspheres; neurological evaluation; rabbits; strokes..