Magnetic resonance imaging of brain edema in the neonatal rat: a comparison of short and long term hypoxia-ischemia

Pediatr Res. 1995 Jul;38(1):113-8. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199507000-00020.


Diffusion-weighted and transversal relaxation time (T2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging were used to study the relationship between the duration of hypoxia-ischemia [unilateral common carotid artery (CCA) ligation and exposure to 8% oxygen] and the in vivo visualization of brain edema in 7-d-old rats. After CCA ligation, 35 animals were divided into five groups according to the length of exposure to 8% oxygen: no exposure (n = 9), 15 min (n = 12), 30 min (n = 5), and 1 h (n = 9) exposure; six animals served as controls. Diffusion weighted images were acquired 2 h after the hypoxic-ischemic insult, sequential T2 weighted images were recorded for up to 7 d and the outcome was documented by histologic examination at 21 d. The apparent diffusion coefficient of water in the ipsilateral cortex was significantly decreased in all animals recovering from prolonged hypoxic-ischemic insult (30 min and longer), whereas this was the case in only 40% of animals exposed to 15 min of hypoxia. Moreover, T2 prolongation of brain tissue occurred only in the former group. These results indicate transient and reversible alterations of physiologic water compartmentation for short term hypoxia-ischemia, but irreversible edema formation for long term hypoxia-ischemia. They support the hypothesis that the duration of hypoxia-ischemia determines whether a vasogenic edema and infarction follows the initial cytotoxic edema.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain Edema / diagnosis*
  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Brain Edema / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Chronic Disease
  • Hypoxia, Brain / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Necrosis
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley