For the understanding of pathophysiology of the cerebral ischemia, we made a transient intraluminal occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in the rat and investigated the appearance of collapsed dark neurons and the extravasation of serum proteins using argyrophil III method and immunohistochemistry. In the acute stage (minutes to 3 days), dark neurons appeared in the lateral half of the ipsilateral striatum and adjacent cortex which formed the ischemic core of this model. Dark neurons also appeared in the ipsilateral reticular thalamic nucleus, hippocampus, and amygdala. The extravasation of serum proteins, albumin, leucocyte common antigen, immunoglobulin G, complement factor C3, as well as heat shock protein 70, was observed not only in the ischemic but sometimes also in the contralateral hemisphere. Among these, the expression of IgG and C3 was most prominent in the ischemic core. In the chronic stage (1 to 3 months), the ischemic core changed into the porencephaly, and the ventrobasal nucleus of the thalamus got also involved in the necrosis. A strong microgliosis was observed in the substantia nigra pars reticulata. Data suggest, that among many mechanisms that contribute to ischemic neuronal death, the activation of immune response, due to the damage of bloodbrain barrier and the extravasation of serum proteins could promote the ischemic cell death in the brain.
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