Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier Alterations in Subacute and Chronic Stages of a Rat Model of Focal Cerebral Ischemia

We previously demonstrated blood-brain barrier impairment in remote contralateral brain areas in rats at 7 and 30 days after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO), indicating ischemic diaschisis. Here, we focused on effects of subacute and chronic focal cerebral ischemia on the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB). We observed BSCB damage on both sides of the cervical spinal cord in rats at 7 and 30 days post-tMCAO. Major BSCB ultrastructural changes in spinal cord gray and white matter included vacuolated endothelial cells containing autophagosomes, pericyte degeneration with enlarged mitochondria, astrocyte end-feet degeneration and perivascular edema; damaged motor neurons, swollen axons with unraveled myelin in ascending and descending tracts and astrogliosis were also observed. Evans Blue dye extravasation was maximal at 7 days. There was immunofluorescence evidence of reduction of microvascular expression of tight junction occludin, upregulation of Beclin-1 and LC3B immunoreactivities at 7 days and a reduction of the latter at 30 days post-ischemia. These novel pathological alterations on the cervical spinal cord microvasculature in rats after tMCAO suggest pervasive and long-lasting BSCB damage after focal cerebral ischemia, and that spinal cord ischemic diaschisis should be considered in the pathophysiology and therapeutic approaches in patients with ischemic cerebral infarction.
Source: Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: Original Articles Source Type: research

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