Fat distribution and changes in the blood brain barrier in a rat model of cerebral arterial fat embolism

J Neurol Sci. 1998 Apr 1;156(2):138-43. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(98)00039-2.


This study was designed to determine the distribution of fat which reaches the brain by the internal carotid artery, and the consequent alterations in the blood brain barrier, in a rat model of cerebral arterial fat embolism. The distribution of the blood flow in this model was determined by the injection of radiolabelled microspheres. Over 44% were trapped in the brain, 43% in the extracerebral tissues of the head and neck, and 7% in the lungs. Over 30% of radiolabelled triolein was present within the brain 30 min after injection, and 4% still remained after 17 days. Approximately 25% of the triolein which went to the brain moved through the cerebral vessels and left within the first 15 min. The majority of the triolein distributed to the ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere, with significantly less to the contralateral cerebral hemisphere, brain stem and cerebellum. The blood brain barrier opened, as measured by uptake of 99mTc, within the first 15 min and remained open for at least 3 days. A significant percentage of fat reaching the brain persists for days, and causes rapid and long-lasting damage to the blood brain barrier.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier* / drug effects
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embolism, Fat / metabolism*
  • Embolism, Fat / physiopathology*
  • Fats / pharmacokinetics*
  • Fats / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / metabolism*
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / physiopathology*
  • Microspheres
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Triolein / pharmacokinetics


  • Fats
  • Triolein