Induced Hypertension Improves Regional Blood Flow and Protects against Infarction during Focal Ischemia: Time Course of Changes in Blood Flow Measured by Laser Doppler Imaging

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To characterize changes in regional blood flow (rCBF) during and after a period of arterial occlusion and determine the effect on rCBF and on the extent of infarction when the mean arterial blood pressure is increased during the period of occlusion.


rCBF in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory of rabbits was monitored using laser Doppler perfusion imaging before, during, and after a 1- or 2-hour period of MCA occlusion, and the size of the infarction was assessed by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolamine chloride staining after 2 hours of reperfusion. Test animals, the mean arterial blood pressure of which was increased by 65 mm Hg with intravenous phenylephrine during the ischemia, were compared with control animals that remained normotensive. The laser Doppler perfusion imager (Lisca Developments Co., Linköping, Sweden) scanned a 3-cm2 are of cortex with a resolution of 4 mm2 every 15 minutes.


MCA occlusion reduced rCBF to 71 ± 2% of the control level (n = 24,P < 0.001). Hypertension (HTN) restored rCBF to 84 ± 3% of the control level (n = 12, P < 0.001), but the HTN-induced improvement diminished with time, so that after 1 hour, there was no longer a significant difference between hypertensive and normotensive animals. HTN during the MCA occlusion caused a 97% reduction in infarct size (P< 0.05) in the animals subjected to 1 hour of occlusion but caused only a 45% reduction (P ∼ 0.1) in the animals subjected to 2 hours of occlusion.


This study supports the use of HTN to minimize ischemic injury from short intervals of major intracranial vessel occlusion but fails to demonstrate protection when HTN is maintained during occlusions of more than 1 hour.

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