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Activity in the Peri-Infarct Rim in Relation to Recovery From Stroke


Background and purpose

In the rim of tissue surrounding a cortical infarct, animal studies have described an increase in a number of growth-related processes that likely contribute to behavioral recovery. The current study hypothesized that in patients with good outcome after stroke, brain activation in peri-infarct tissue would be greater than normal.


In 15 patients with good recovery chronically after ischemic cortical stroke, activation within peri-infarct brain tissue was directly compared with activation within the same brain tissue of 13 control subjects.


Although most patients did show activation within peri-infarct tissues, their activation compared with controls was reduced rather than increased. Evaluation of the T2*-weighted images underlying functional MRI mapping disclosed a significant gradient of increased T2* signal in peri-infarct tissues, likely attributable to tissue changes such as gliosis.


Among well-recovered stroke patients, cortical activation is present in the area surrounding a cortical infarct but is smaller than normal. A baseline derangement of the T2*-weighted signal underlying functional MRI (fMRI) is also present in this area, which might influence interpretation of fMRI findings. The relationship between increased tissue T2* signal and fMRI activation is not known and requires further study.

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