A comparison of the early development of ischaemic damage following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats as assessed using magnetic resonance imaging and histology

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1995 Jan;15(1):1-11. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.1995.1.


Recent developments in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) have enabled the pathological changes that occur during cerebral ischaemia to be studied. The present studies utilised DWI to investigate the development of early ischaemic changes following permanent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion in the rat, which represents a model of stroke. An increased DWI signal was seen in the region of the occluded MCA and this was detectable as early as 1 h postocclusion. DWI images were obtained at nine stereotactic levels throughout the brain, providing a quantifiable measure of the volume of increased signal intensity in each animal. At 1 h post-MCA occlusion the hyperintense areas were seen in the frontoparietal cortex and lateral caudate nucleus; these areas represent the core of the infarct and no protection is seen with any compounds in these areas. There was a progressive increase in the area of hyperintensity up to 4 h post-MCA occlusion, and at this time point the hyper-intensity was seen in the dorsolateral cortex and caudate nucleus. At 4 h post-MCA occlusion there was a significant correlation between the volume of hemispheric and cortical ischaemic damage measured using DWI and histology. Thus, it appears that the increased DWI signal seen during the early time points after MCA occlusion was demarcating tissue that was destined for infarction. The area beyond the hyperintense region at 1 h represents the so-called "penumbral" region, because with increasing time (post-MCA occlusion) this area became incorporated into the infarct. There was also a slight increase in infarct size between 4 and 24 h, when assessed using DWI or histology, although two groups of animals were being compared, as opposed to the time-course study, in which just one group of animals was used. At 24 h post-MCA occlusion there was a good correlation between DWI, histology, and conventional T2 weighted imaging. There was no further increase in size of the infarct between 24 h and 7 days as assessed using histology and T2-weighted imaging. DWI could not be used to quantify infarct volume at 7 days because there was no uniform signal in the damaged area. At 7 days the area of infarction actually appeared to be darker in the diffusion-weighted images. The hyperintensity seen in diffusion-weighted images appears to decrease some time between 24 h and 7 days.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Caudate Nucleus / pathology
  • Cerebral Arteries / surgery
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Kinetics
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley