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Temporal dynamics of degenerative and regeneratuve events associated with cerebral ischemia in aged rats

  • Studies of stroke in experimental animals have demonstrated the neuroprotective efficacy of a variety of interventions; however, most such strategies have failed to show clinical benefits in aged humans. One possible explanation for this discrepancy between animal and clinical studies may be the role that age plays in the recovery of the brain following insult. For example, the poor functional recovery of aged rats after stroke may be caused by a decline in brain plasticity. Although the incidence of ischemic stroke increases dramatically with advancing age, relatively few studies have been conducted on aged animals, which would mimic most closely the context in which stroke occurs in humans. We have shown that, at one week following stroke, there was vigorous expression of MAP1B and its mRNA, as well as MAP2 protein, in the border zone adjacent to the infarct of 3 month- and 20 month-old male Sprague Dawley rats. Hypothesis: The decline in brain plasticity is caused by an age-related decline in the upregulation of factors promoting brain plasticity (MAP1B, ßAPP) and an age-related increase in astroglial scaring and in the expression of neurotoxins such as beta amyloid. Methods: Focal cerebral ischemia was produced by reversible occlusion of the right middle cerebral artery in 3- and 20-month-old male Sprague Dawley rats. The functional outcome was assessed in neurobehavioral tests at 3, 7, 14, and 28 days post-stroke. At these time points, brains were removed and analyzed for markers of (i) brain plasticity (microtubule-associated protein 1B, MAP1B, secreted forms of fi-amyloid precursor protein); (ii) neurogenesis (BrdU-positive cells, doublecortin, nestin); (iii) neurotoxicity (B-amyloid aggregates); (iv) inflammation (microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, endothelial cells). Results: (1) There was a non-significant tendency for blood pressure to be higher in old than in young rats. By post-stroke day 3 the infarct volume covered about 15% of the cortical neurons in young and 28% in aged rats. By day 7, infarct volumes were roughly equal in the two age groups. (2) Cell counting showed increases in the number of BrdU-positive cells in the infarcted area of old rats at day 3 post-stroke. This increase became even more dramatic at day 7 post-stroke in aged rats. There was no significant contribution of apoptosis to cell death. (3) Behaviorally, young rats recovered gradually and reached a maximum of 90% of baseline performance at day 14, post-stroke while the aged rats recovered only to a maximum of 70% of pre-surgery performance by week 2 post-stroke, and remained at that level. (4) The temporal pattern of recovery correlated well with the expression of growth-associated phenotype of ßAPP as well as with MAP1B accumulation in varicosities along axons (an indicator of growth) in cortical areas affected by stroke and was at maximum between days 14 to 28 in young rats. In contrast, aged rats showed delayed (day 28) and reduced axonal remodelling as well as a delayed (day 28) expression of growth-associated ßAPP. Instead, the neurotoxic carboxy-terminal form of ßAPP steadily accumulated over time and reached a maximum at day 14 in aged rats as compared to 28d for the young rats. Nestin, a marker for immature neurons, overlapped with BrdU-labelled cells at day 7 post-stroke in corpus callosum and at the infarct border in both young and aged rats, suggesting increased stroke-induced neurogenesis. (5) In young rats there was a gradual activation of both microglia and astrocytes that peaked by days 14 to 28 with the formation of a glial scar. In contrast, aged rats showed an accelerated astrocytic and microglial reaction that peaked in week 1 post-stroke. We also noted a strong activation of oligodendrocytes at early stages of infarct development in all rats that persisted in aged rats. Evolution of astrocytic and microglial reactivity closely paralled the time course of scar formation in both young and aged rats and coincided with the stagnation in the recovery rate of aged rats. Conclusions: The time course of functional recovery in young rats correlated well with the expression of plasticity proteins such as MAP1B and ßAPP while an early and persistent expression of the neuro toxic fragment AB in conjunction with a delayed expression of MAP1B and ßAPP may impede functional recovery in aged rats. The results also suggest that a temporally anomalous glial reaction to cerebral ischemia in aged rats leads to the premature formation of scar tissue that impedes functional recovery to stroke.
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Author: Flori-Irina Badan
Title Additional (English):keine Angaben
Title Additional (German):keine Angaben
Advisor:PD Dr. A. Popa-Wagner
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2006/07/26
Granting Institution:Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität, Medizinische Fakultät (bis 2010)
Date of final exam:2003/10/24
Release Date:2006/07/26
GND Keyword:Schlaganfall, Nervendegeneration, Regeneration
Faculties:Universitätsmedizin / Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie
DDC class:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit