Glial swelling in ischemia: a hypothesis

Dev Neurosci. 1993;15(3-5):216-25. doi: 10.1159/000111337.


On the basis of experiments with primary cultures of mouse astrocytes with conventional K(+)-sensitive intracellular microelectrodes involving 'chemical ischemia' (antimycin a and sodium fluoride treatment), a model of ischemia is presented. According to this model, ischemia has no significant direct effect during the first 10 min on astrocytes; neurones, however, lose a major part of their K+ into the ECS. This leads to an astrocytic depolarization, which in turn activates astrocytic anion channels. This will result in passive, Donnan-mediated K+, Cl- and HCO3- fluxes into astrocytes, which in turn causes swelling and a collapse of the ECS. Arguments are put forward that this may explain the swelling of astrocytic endfeet, which occurs very early in an ischemic insult.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mice
  • Neuroglia / pathology*