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Assessing the Effects of Cytoprotectants on Selective Neuronal Loss, Sensorimotor Deficit and Microglial Activation after Temporary Middle Cerebral Occlusion


Although early reperfusion after stroke salvages the still-viable ischemic tissue, peri-infarct selective neuronal loss (SNL) can cause sensorimotor deficits (SMD). We designed a longitudinal protocol to assess the effects of cytoprotectants on SMD, microglial activation (MA) and SNL, and specifically tested whether the KCa3.1-blocker TRAM-34 would prevent SNL. Spontaneously hypertensive rats underwent 15 min middle-cerebral artery occlusion and were randomized into control or treatment group, which received TRAM-34 intraperitoneally for 4 weeks starting 12 h after reperfusion. SMD was assessed longitudinally using the sticky-label test. MA was quantified at day 14 using in vivo [11C]-PK111195 positron emission tomography (PET), and again across the same regions-of-interest template by immunofluorescence together with SNL at day 28. SMD recovered significantly faster in the treated group (p = 0.004). On PET, MA was present in 5/6 rats in each group, with no significant between-group difference. On immunofluorescence, both SNL and MA were present in 5/6 control rats and 4/6 TRAM-34 rats, with a non-significantly lower degree of MA but a significantly (p = 0.009) lower degree of SNL in the treated group. These findings document the utility of our longitudinal protocol and suggest that TRAM-34 reduces SNL and hastens behavioural recovery without marked MA blocking at the assessed time-points.

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