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Focal brainstem infarction in the adult rat



Animal models are required to study the pathogenesis of brainstem ischemia and to develop new therapeutic approaches to promote functional recovery after ischemia in humans. Few models of brainstem ischemia are available, and they show great variability or cause early lethality. New, reliable animal models are therefore needed. By selectively ligating four points of the lower basilar artery, we developed a new focal basilar artery occlusion model that causes a localized brainstem ischemic lesion in female Sprague–Dawley rats. Analysis of ischemic lesion volume and neurological deficits over a period of 28 d showed that the rats present symptoms specific to this type of stroke while the ischemic lesion remains relatively unchanged over time. This procedure allows higher survival rates and extended observation periods compared with other models of brainstem ischemia. The procedure takes ~40 min, can be performed by researchers with basic surgical skills and does not require specialized surgical equipment. This protocol is highly reliable and will be useful to evaluate new therapeutic approaches to promote functional recovery in patients with brainstem ischemia.

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Fig. 1: Schematic illustrations of the BA circulation and of the perfusion area of BA perforators.
Fig. 2: Flow images of the arterial phase before and after BAO.
Fig. 3: BAO operative procedure.
Fig. 4: Evaluation of ischemic lesion volume.
Fig. 5: Neurological outcome.
Fig. 6: Open-field locomotion of rats 24 h post-sham/BAO.


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This work was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI (grant 16K10730 to O.H..), the AMED Translational Research Network Program (JP16lm0103003 to M.S.) and Merit Review Award 1 I01 BX003190 from the US Department of Veterans Affairs BLRD and the RRD Services (to J.D.K.). We thank M. Yamaguchi and M. Kimura for their excellent technical assistance.

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A.N., M.S. and O.H. conceptualized experiments. A.N. and T.N. performed all experiments. A.N. and M.S. analyzed the data. A.N., M.S., J.D.K. and O.H. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Masanori Sasaki.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Namioka, A., Namioka, T., Sasaki, M. et al. Focal brainstem infarction in the adult rat. Lab Anim 50, 97–107 (2021).

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