The role of spreading depolarizations and electrographic seizures in early injury progression of the rat photothrombosis stroke model

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2021 Feb;41(2):413-430. doi: 10.1177/0271678X20915801. Epub 2020 Apr 2.


Spreading depolarization (SD) and seizures are pathophysiological events associated with cerebral ischemia. Here, we investigated their role for injury progression in the cerebral cortex. Cerebral ischemia was induced in anesthetized male Wistar rats using the photothrombosis (PT) stroke model. SD and spontaneous neuronal activity were recorded in the presence of either urethane or ketamine/xylazine anesthesia. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, cerebral perfusion, and cellular damage were assessed through a cranial window and repeated intravenous injection of fluorescein sodium salt and propidium iodide until 4 h after PT. Neuronal injury and early lesion volume were quantified by stereological cell counting and manual and automated assessment of ex vivo T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Onset SDs originated at the thrombotic core and invaded neighboring cortex, whereas delayed SDs often showed opposite propagation patterns. Seizure induction by 4-aminopyridine caused no increase in lesion volume or neuronal injury in urethane-anesthetized animals. Ketamine/xylazine anesthesia was associated with a lower number of onset SDs, reduced lesion volume, and neuronal injury despite a longer duration of seizures. BBB permeability increase inversely correlated with the number of SDs at 3 and 4 h after PT. Our results provide further evidence that ketamine may counteract the early progression of ischemic injury.

Keywords: Blood–brain barrier; ketamine; seizure; spreading depolarization; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Stroke / pathology*