We incorporated diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (DWI) and perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) to evaluate the efficacy of thrombolysis in experimental embolic stroke using a plasminogen activator, reteplase. Reteplase (rPA) is an unglycosylated plasminogen activator with enhanced fibrinolytic potency. Right internal carotid arteries of 34 rabbits were embolized using aged heterologous thrombi. Baseline DWI and PWI scans 0.5 hours after embolization confirmed successful embolization among 32. Intravenous treatment with rPA (n=11; 1 mg/kg bolus), recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) (n=11; 6 mg/kg bolus over 1 hour), or placebo (n=10) commenced 1 hour after stroke induction. MRIs were performed at 1.75, 3, and 5 hours after embolization. Six hours after embolization, brains were harvested and examined for hemorrhage. Posttreatment areas of diffusion abnormality and perfusion delay were graded using both a semiquantitative scale and percent areas expressed as a ratio of the baseline values. Improved perfusion was seen among the rt-PA, and rPA-treated groups compared with placebo, using a semiquantitative scale (P<.01 rt-PA v controls, P<.05, rPA v controls). DWI scans, however, were not improved with thrombolysis. Cerebral hemorrhage was not increased with thrombolytic treatment, although the incidence of wound site hemorrhage was higher with either rPA or rt-PA. One fatal systemic hemorrhage was observed in each of the thrombolytic-treated groups. Cerebral perfusion was equally improved with either rt-PA or rPA without causing excess cerebral hemorrhage. An advantage of rPA is single-bolus dosing rather than continuous infusion. Use of rPA for stroke treatment should be further explored.
View details for PubMedID 17895078