Experimental brain infarcts in cats. II. Ischemic brain edema.
In cats, the early development of ischemic brain edema was studied 1 to 4 hours after transorbital occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery (MCA). Two groups of animals were compared: those in which blood flow in the territory of the MCA decreased below the threshold of 10--15 ml/100 g/min (critical ischemia) and those in which it remained above this level (non-critical ischemia). In animals with critical ischemia, water content in the cortex of the MCA territory increased from 80.7 +/- 0.4 to 83.0 +/- 0.3 vol. % (means +/- SE) within 4 h. Edema was associated with an increase in tissue osmolality by 16--22 mosm/kg w.w., and a rise of sodium from 262 +/- 9 to 454 +/- 13 meq/kg d.w. and a decrease of potassium from 442 +/- 20 to 305 +/- 32 meq/kg d.w. The sodium/potassium ratio rose from 0.60 +/- 0.03 to 1.55 +/- 0.17. The water and electrolyte disturbances were accompanied by a major shift of extracellular fluid into the intracellular compartment, as evidenced by the increase in cortical impedance from 282 to 660 ohm/cm within 2 h. According to the Maxwell equation, this reflects a narrowing of the extracellular space from 19.8 to 11.4%. Brain volume was continuously monitored using an induction transducer; swelling began within a few minutes of vascular occlusion, and it continued throughout the 4 h observation period. During this time the blood-brain barrier remained intact as evidenced by the absence of Evans blue staining. Edema was associated with disturbances of the energy producing metabolism, but there was no strict correlation with either lactate or the concentration of high energy phosphates. In animals without critical ischemia, i.e. in which blood flow remained above 10--15 ml/100 g/min, edema was absent despite a distinct deterioration of the energy state of the brain. Edema was also absent in the border zone, in the territory of the posterior cerebral artery and in the contralateral hemisphere of animals with both critical and non-critical ischemia. It is concluded that the early ischemic brain edema following middle cerebral artery occlusion is of the cytotoxic type, that it develops at a flow rate below 10--15 ml/100 g/min, and that it is not strictly correlated with the energy state of the brain.
- Copyright © 1980 by American Heart Association