Focal cerebral ischaemia in the rat: 1. Description of technique and early neuropathological consequences following middle cerebral artery occlusion

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1981;1(1):53-60. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.1981.6.


A procedure for occluding the stem of the proximal middle cerebral artery of the rat is described. The operation is performed under anaesthesia through a small subtemporal craniectomy. After occlusion, 3 animals were perfused with carbon block and 8 with a FAM fixative (40% formaldehyde, glacial acetic acid, and methanol). The findings were compared with sham-operated animals. Carbon black studies demonstrated an area of impaired perfusion corresponding to the territory of the occluded artery in each animal. Neuropathological studies invariably showed that there was ischaemic brain damage in the cortex and basal ganglia. The frontal cortex was involved in every animal, as was the lateral part of the neostriatum; the sensorimotor and auditory cortex were involved in most animals, whereas the occipital cortex and medial striatum were involved only infrequently. The damage produced by ischaemia could be readily distinguished from the small local lesion seen at the surgical site in sham-operated animals. The ability to produce a consistent focal ischaemic lesion in the rodent brain provides a technical approach that is sufficiently reproducible to enable investigation of the pathophysiology of ischaemia using recently developed autoradiographic and neurochemical methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Caudate Nucleus / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains