Cerebral ischemic preconditioning protects against stroke, but is clinically feasible only when the occurrence of stroke is predictable. Reperfusion plays a critical role in cerebral injury after stroke; we tested the hypothesis that interrupting reperfusion lessens ischemic injury. We found for the first time that such postconditioning with a series of mechanical interruptions of reperfusion significantly reduces ischemic damage. Focal ischemia was generated by permanent distal middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion plus transient bilateral common carotid artery (CCA) occlusion. After 30 secs of CCA reperfusion, ischemic postconditioning was performed by occluding CCAs for 10 secs, and then allowing for another two cycles of 30 secs of reperfusion and 10 secs of CCA occlusion. Infarct size was measured 2 days later. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured in animals subjected to permanent MCA occlusion plus 15 mins of bilateral CCA occlusion, which demonstrates that postconditioning disturbed the early hyperemia immediately after reperfusion. Postconditioning dose dependently reduced infarct size in animals subjected to permanent MCA occlusion combined with 15, 30, and 60 mins of bilateral CCA occlusion, by reducing infarct size approximately 80%, 51%, and 17%, respectively. In addition, postconditioning blocked terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated uridine 5'-triphosphate-biotin nick end labeling-positive staining, a marker of apoptosis, in the penumbra 2 days after stroke. Furthermore, in situ superoxide detection using hydroethidine suggested that postconditioning attenuated superoxide products during early reperfusion after stroke. In conclusion, postconditioning reduced infarct size, most plausibly by blocking apoptosis and free radical generation. With further study it may eventually be clinically applicable for stroke treatment.
View details for DOI 10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600348
View details for Web of Science ID 000240015300002
View details for PubMedID 16736038