A photothrombotic model of small early ischemic infarcts in the rat brain with histologic and MRI correlation

Paul H. Pevsner, Joseph W. Eichenbaum, Douglas C. Miller, Gabriel Pivawer, Kenneth D. Eichenbaum, Arnold Stern, Kristin L. Zakian, Jason A. Koutcher

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50 Scopus citations


Over the last two decades several studies have suggested the role of photothrombotic occlusion of cerebral microvessels using rose bengal, resulting in small strokes in rodents that resemble those in humans. This paper describes such a photothrombotic method of acute small stroke induction in rats with histopathologic and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) observations from 3 to 6 h after irradiation, which is homologous to a human autopsy specimen. Utilizing 30 min of irradiation with minimal beam intensity (0.1 W/cm2) cold white light in conjunction with 20 mg of intravenous (iv) rose bengal as a rapid infusion, small infarcts were induced photochemically in the frontal lobes of six rats. The infarcts showed a consistent pattern on histologic and in vivo MR sections when examined within 7 h or less of irradiation. Both MRI and histologic sections were comprised of (a) a superior zone of infarcted neurons, (b) a middle curvilinear transition zone of edema on MRI and histologically vacuolated neuropil, and (c) an inferior zone of normal neurons. Shorter duration water-sensitive (T2)- and postgadolinium longer duration (T1)-weighted signal decay images both showed a curvilinear hyperintense transition zone of edema. The mean infarct and transition zone areas measured from the histologic sections were comparable to those measured on the MRI. The infarct model described above allows in vivo observations using MRI with the potential for use in testing putative neuroprotective agents. As demonstrated by a comparison with the histologic features of such infarcts in surgical and autopsy brain specimens, the model is relevant to acute human ischemic infarcts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain Infarct
  • Human correlate
  • MRI
  • Photochemical methods
  • Rat stroke model


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