Longitudinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Sildenafil Treatment of Embolic Stroke in Aged Rats
Background and Purpose—Sildenafil provides restorative therapeutic benefits in the treatment of experimental stroke. The majority of experimental studies on treatment of stroke have been performed in young animals; however, stroke is primarily a disease of the aged. Thus, using MRI, we evaluated the effects of sildenafil treatment of embolic stroke in aged animals.
Methods—Aged male Wistar rats (18 months) were subjected to embolic stroke and treated daily with saline (n=10) or with sildenafil (n=10) initiated at 24 hours and subsequently for 7 days after onset of ischemia. MRI measurements were performed at 24 hours and weekly to 6 weeks after embolization.
Results—MRI and histological measurements demonstrated that sildenafil treatment of aged rats significantly enhanced angiogenesis and axonal remodeling after stroke compared to saline-treated aged rats. Local cerebral blood flow in the angiogenic area was elevated and expansion of the ipsilateral ventricle and, consequently, brain atrophy was significantly reduced in the sildenafil-treated rats.
Conclusions—Treatment of embolic stroke in aged rats with sildenafil significantly augments angiogenesis and axonal remodeling, which increased local blood flow and reduced expansion of the ipsilateral ventricle 6 weeks after stroke compared to control aged rats. MRI can be used to investigate brain repair after stroke in aged rats.
- Received April 1, 2011.
- Accepted June 24, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.