Laser-Doppler Scanning of Local Cerebral Blood Flow and Reserve Capacity and Testing of Motor and Memory Functions in a Chronic 2-Vessel Occlusion Model in Rats

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Background and Purpose

An animal model of incomplete forebrain ischemia resembling human hemodynamic insufficiency was established. The model allows examination of acute and chronic changes of local cerebral blood flow (lCBF) and reserve capacity in correlation with behavioral parameters.


Anesthetized male Wistar-Kyoto rats underwent bilateral carotid occlusion (BCO). Laser-Doppler scanning of lCBF at baseline conditions and after acetazolamide was done 30 minutes after BCO, motor and memory function tests were administered after 1 and 2 days, and both investigations were repeated after 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks. A sham-operated and a control group without any vessel manipulation served as controls.


lCBF dropped within 60 minutes after surgery by 62% (P<0.001) in 10 animals surviving BCO (BCOsurvival) and by 69% in 5 rats that died within 9 days (BCOlethal). Acetazolamide increased lCBF to 142.33% in controls, to 136.66% in sham-operated rats (both significant), and to 104.80% in BCOsurvival (not significant), and it decreased flow by 23.1% in BCOlethal rats (P<0.001). Baseline lCBF normalized within 4 weeks. Total motor function scores were significantly reduced from 9 points preoperatively to 5.80 +/- 0.65 in BCOlethal and 6.68 +/- 0.54 points in BCOsurvival rats 1 day after occlusion. Memory retention function remained impaired after BCO, as did the acetazolamide response, which correlated with motor score and was inversely related to maze exploration time.


This model allows long-term follow-up of cerebral function, lCBF, and reserve capacity in a pathophysiological setting similar to hemodynamic insufficiency in humans. (Stroke. 1998;29:2412-2420.)

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