Background: The development of collateral circulation is proposed as an inherent compensatory mechanism to restore impaired blood perfusion after ischemia, at least in the penumbra. We have studied the dynamic macro- and microcirculation after ischemia-reperfusion in the juvenile rat brain and evaluated the impact of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibition on the collateral flow. Methods: Fourteen-day-old (P14) rats were subjected to ischemia-reperfusion and treated with either PBS or 7-nitroindazole (7-NI, an nNOS inhibitor, 25 mg/kg). Arterial blood flow (BF) was measured using 2D-color-coded pulsed ultrasound imaging. Laser speckle contrast (LSC) imaging and sidestream dark-field videomicroscopy were used to measure cortical and microvascular BF, respectively. Results: In basal conditions, 7-NI reduced BF in the internal carotids (by ∼25%) and cortical (by ∼30%) BF, as compared to PBS. During ischemia, the increased mean BF velocity in the basilar trunk after both PBS and 7-NI demonstrated the establishment of collateral support and patency. Upon re-flow, BF immediately recovered to basal values in the internal carotid arteries under both conditions. The 7-NI group showed increased collateral flow in the penumbral tissue during early re-flow compared to PBS, as shown with both LSC imaging and side-stream dark-field videomicroscopy. The proportion of perfused capillaries was significantly increased under 7-NI as compared to PBS when given before ischemia (67.0 ± 3.9 vs. 46.8 ± 8.8, p < 0.01). Perfused capillaries (63.1 ± 17.7 vs. 81.1 ± 20.7, p < 0.001) and the BF index (2.4 ± 0.6 vs. 1.3 ± 0.1, p < 0.001) significantly increased under 7-NI given at the re-flow onset. Conclusions: Collateral support in the penumbra is initiated during ischemia, and may be increased during early re-flow by neuronal NOS inhibition (given in pre- and post-treatment), which may preserve brain tissue in juvenile rats.
- Collateral perfusion
- Laser speckle contrast imaging
- Sidestream dark field videomicroscopy
- Ultrasound imaging