Background: Following the onset of focal ischemic stroke, the brain experiences a series of alterations including infarct evolvement, cellular proliferation in the penumbra, and behavioral deficits. However, systematic study on the temporal and spatial dependence of these alterations has not been provided.
Results: Using multiple approaches, we assessed stroke outcomes by measuring brain injury, dynamic cellular and glial proliferation, and functional deficits at different times up to two weeks after photothrombosis (PT)-induced ischemic stroke in adult mice. Results from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Nissl staining showed a maximal infarction, and brain edema and swelling 1-3 days after PT. The rate of Bromodeoxyuridine (Brdu)-labeled proliferating cell generation is spatiotemporal dependent in the penumbra, with the highest rate in post ischemic days 3-4, and higher rate of proliferation in the region immediate to the ischemic core than in the distant region. Similar time-dependent generation of proliferating GFAP+ astrocytes and Iba1+ microglia/macrophage were observed in the penumbra. Using behavioral tests, we showed that PT resulted in the largest functional deficits during post ischemic days 2-4.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that first a few days is a critical period that causes brain expansion, cellular proliferation and behavioral deficits in photothrombosis-induced ischemic model, and proliferating astrocytes only have a small contribution to the pools of proliferating cells and reactive astrocytes.