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Concept: Middle cerebral artery


Background The effect of endovascular thrombectomy that is performed more than 6 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke is uncertain. Patients with a clinical deficit that is disproportionately severe relative to the infarct volume may benefit from late thrombectomy. Methods We enrolled patients with occlusion of the intracranial internal carotid artery or proximal middle cerebral artery who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between the severity of the clinical deficit and the infarct volume, with mismatch criteria defined according to age (<80 years or ≥80 years). Patients were randomly assigned to thrombectomy plus standard care (the thrombectomy group) or to standard care alone (the control group). The coprimary end points were the mean score for disability on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale (which ranges from 0 [death] to 10 [no symptoms or disability]) and the rate of functional independence (a score of 0, 1, or 2 on the modified Rankin scale, which ranges from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) at 90 days. Results A total of 206 patients were enrolled; 107 were assigned to the thrombectomy group and 99 to the control group. At 31 months, enrollment in the trial was stopped because of the results of a prespecified interim analysis. The mean score on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale at 90 days was 5.5 in the thrombectomy group as compared with 3.4 in the control group (adjusted difference [Bayesian analysis], 2.0 points; 95% credible interval, 1.1 to 3.0; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999), and the rate of functional independence at 90 days was 49% in the thrombectomy group as compared with 13% in the control group (adjusted difference, 33 percentage points; 95% credible interval, 24 to 44; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999). The rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage did not differ significantly between the two groups (6% in the thrombectomy group and 3% in the control group, P=0.50), nor did 90-day mortality (19% and 18%, respectively; P=1.00). Conclusions Among patients with acute stroke who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between clinical deficit and infarct, outcomes for disability at 90 days were better with thrombectomy plus standard care than with standard care alone. (Funded by Stryker Neurovascular; DAWN number, NCT02142283 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Posterior communicating artery, Disability


Here, for the first time, we test a novel hypothesis that systemic treatment of stroke with exosomes derived from multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) promote neurovascular remodeling and functional recovery after stroke in rats. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to 2 hours of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) followed by tail vein injection of 100 μg protein from MSC exosome precipitates or an equal volume of vehicle phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (n=6/group) 24 hours later. Animals were killed at 28 days after stroke and histopathology and immunohistochemistry were employed to identify neurite remodeling, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis. Systemic administration of MSC-generated exosomes significantly improved functional recovery in stroke rats compared with PBS-treated controls. Axonal density and synaptophysin-positive areas were significantly increased along the ischemic boundary zone of the cortex and striatum in MCAo rats treated with exosomes compared with PBS control. Exosome treatment significantly increased the number of newly formed doublecortin (a marker of neuroblasts) and von Willebrand factor (a marker of endothelial cells) cells. Our results suggest that intravenous administration of cell-free MSC-generated exosomes post stroke improves functional recovery and enhances neurite remodeling, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis and represents a novel treatment for stroke.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 21 August 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.152.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Mesenchymal stem cell, Blood vessel, Middle cerebral artery, Endothelium, Cardiovascular system, Von Willebrand factor, Von Willebrand disease


Adopting an unusual posture can sometimes give rise to paradoxical experiences. For example, the subjective ordering of successive unseen tactile stimuli delivered to the two arms can be affected when people cross them. A growing body of evidence now highlights the role played by the parietal cortex in spatio-temporal information processing when sensory stimuli are delivered to the body or when actions are executed; however, little is known about the neural basis of such paradoxical feelings resulting from such unusual limb positions. Here, we demonstrate increased fMRI activation in the left posterior parietal cortex when human participants adopted a crossed hands posture with their eyes closed. Furthermore, by assessing tactile temporal order judgments (TOJs) in the same individuals, we observed a positive association between activity in this area and the degree of reversal in TOJs resulting from crossing arms. The strongest positive association was observed in the left intraparietal sulcus. This result implies that the left posterior parietal cortex may be critically involved in monitoring limb position and in spatio-temporal binding when serial events are delivered to the limbs.

Concepts: Cerebrum, Visual system, Middle cerebral artery, Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Intraparietal sulcus, Posterior parietal cortex, Hemispatial neglect


Ferulic acid, a component of the plants Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels and Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort, exerts a neuroprotective effect by regulating various signaling pathways. This study showed that ferulic acid treatment prevents the injury-induced increase of collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP-2) in focal cerebral ischemia. Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) regulates CRMP-2 function through phosphorylation of CRMP-2. Moreover, the pro-apoptotic activity of GSK-3β is inactivated by phosphorylation by Akt. This study investigated whether ferulic acid modulates the expression of CRMP-2 and its upstream targets, Akt and GSK-3β, in focal cerebral ischemia. Male rats were treated immediately with ferulic acid (100 mg/kg, i.v.) or vehicle after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), and then cerebral cortices were collected 24 hr after MCAO. MCAO resulted in decreased levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-GSK-3β, while ferulic acid treatment prevented the decrease in the levels of these proteins. Moreover, phospho-CRMP-2 and CRMP-2 levels increased during MCAO, whereas ferulic acid attenuated these injury-induced increases. These results demonstrate that ferulic acid regulates the Akt/GSK-3β/CRMP-2 signaling pathway in focal cerebral ischemic injury, thereby protecting against brain injury.

Concepts: Protein, Signal transduction, Blood vessel, Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Middle cerebral artery, Animal models of ischemic stroke, Sodium ferulate


We report on oxygenation changes noninvasively recorded by multichannel continuous-wave near infrared spectroscopy (CW-NIRS) during endovascular neuroradiologic interventions requiring temporary balloon occlusion of arteries supplying the cerebral circulation. Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) provides reference data on the site, timing, and effectiveness of the flow stagnation as well as on the amount and direction of collateral circulation. This setting allows us to relate CW-NIRS findings to brain specific perfusion changes. We focused our analysis on the transition from normal perfusion to vessel occlusion, i.e., before hypoxia becomes clinically apparent. The localization of the maximal response correlated either with the core (occlusion of the middle cerebral artery) or with the watershed areas (occlusion of the internal carotid artery) of the respective vascular territories. In one patient with clinically and angiographically confirmed insufficient collateral flow during carotid artery occlusion, the total hemoglobin concentration became significantly asymmetric, with decreased values in the ipsilateral watershed area and contralaterally increased values. Multichannel CW-NIRS monitoring might serve as an objective and early predictive marker of critical perfusion changes during interventions-to prevent hypoxic damage of the brain. It also might provide valuable human reference data on oxygenation changes as they typically occur during acute stroke.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 4 December 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.207.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Blood, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Infrared, Digital subtraction angiography


We recently reported isolation of viable rat amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells [1]. Here, we tested the therapeutic benefits of AFS cells in a rodent model of ischemic stroke. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats received a 60-minute middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Thirty-five days later, animals exhibiting significant motor deficits received intravenous transplants of rat AFS cells or vehicle. At days 60-63 post-MCAo, significant recovery of motor and cognitive function was seen in stroke animals transplanted with AFS cells compared to vehicle-infused stroke animals. Infarct volume, as revealed by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, was significantly reduced, coupled with significant increments in the cell proliferation marker, Ki67, and the neuronal marker, MAP2, in the dentate gyrus (DG) [2] and the subventricular zone (SVZ) of AFS cell-transplanted stroke animals compared to vehicle-infused stroke animals. A significantly higher number of double-labeled Ki67/MAP2-positive cells and a similar trend towards increased Ki67/MAP2 double-labeling were observed in the DG and SVZ of AFS cell-transplanted stroke animals, respectively, compared to vehicle-infused stroke animals. This study reports the therapeutic potential of AFS cell transplantation in stroke animals, possibly via enhancement of endogenous repair mechanisms.

Concepts: Cell division, Stroke, Cerebrum, Middle cerebral artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Dentate gyrus, Neurogenesis, Organ transplant


Acute exercise has been demonstrated to improve cognitive function. In contrast, severe hypoxia can impair cognitive function. Hence, cognitive function during exercise under severe hypoxia may be determined by the balance between the beneficial effects of exercise and the detrimental effects of severe hypoxia. However, the physiological factors that determine cognitive function during exercise under hypoxia remain unclear. Here, we examined the combined effects of acute exercise and severe hypoxia on cognitive function and identified physiological factors that determine cognitive function during exercise under severe hypoxia. The participants completed cognitive tasks at rest and during moderate exercise under either normoxic or severe hypoxic conditions. Peripheral oxygen saturation, cerebral oxygenation, and middle cerebral artery velocity were continuously monitored. Cerebral oxygen delivery was calculated as the product of estimated arterial oxygen content and cerebral blood flow. On average, cognitive performance improved during exercise under both normoxia and hypoxia, without sacrificing accuracy. However, under hypoxia, cognitive improvements were attenuated for individuals exhibiting a greater decrease in peripheral oxygen saturation. Cognitive performance was not associated with other physiological parameters. Taken together, the present results suggest that arterial desaturation attenuates cognitive improvements during exercise under hypoxia.

Concepts: Better, Oxygen, Improve, Blood, Heart, Middle cerebral artery, Hypoxia, Pulse oximetry


Background Trials of endovascular therapy for ischemic stroke have produced variable results. We conducted this study to test whether more advanced imaging selection, recently developed devices, and earlier intervention improve outcomes. Methods We randomly assigned patients with ischemic stroke who were receiving 0.9 mg of alteplase per kilogram of body weight less than 4.5 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke either to undergo endovascular thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR (Flow Restoration) stent retriever or to continue receiving alteplase alone. All the patients had occlusion of the internal carotid or middle cerebral artery and evidence of salvageable brain tissue and ischemic core of less than 70 ml on computed tomographic (CT) perfusion imaging. The coprimary outcomes were reperfusion at 24 hours and early neurologic improvement (≥8-point reduction on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale or a score of 0 or 1 at day 3). Secondary outcomes included the functional score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Results The trial was stopped early because of efficacy after 70 patients had undergone randomization (35 patients in each group). The percentage of ischemic territory that had undergone reperfusion at 24 hours was greater in the endovascular-therapy group than in the alteplase-only group (median, 100% vs. 37%; P<0.001). Endovascular therapy, initiated at a median of 210 minutes after the onset of stroke, increased early neurologic improvement at 3 days (80% vs. 37%, P=0.002) and improved the functional outcome at 90 days, with more patients achieving functional independence (score of 0 to 2 on the modified Rankin scale, 71% vs. 40%; P=0.01). There were no significant differences in rates of death or symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. Conclusions In patients with ischemic stroke with a proximal cerebral arterial occlusion and salvageable tissue on CT perfusion imaging, early thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR stent retriever, as compared with alteplase alone, improved reperfusion, early neurologic recovery, and functional outcome. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; EXTEND-IA number, NCT01492725 , and Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12611000969965 .).

Concepts: Better, Blood, Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery


Previous studies have demonstrated that the knockdown or knockout of the three Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (NCX) isoforms, NCX1, NCX2, and NCX3, worsens ischemic brain damage. This suggests that the activation of these antiporters exerts a neuroprotective action against stroke damage. However, drugs able to increase the activity of NCXs are not yet available. We have here succeeded in synthesizing a new compound, named neurounina-1 (7-nitro-5-phenyl-1-(pyrrolidin-1-ylmethyl)-1H-benzo[e][1,4]diazepin-2(3H)-one), provided with an high lipophilicity index and able to increase NCX activity. Ca(2+) radiotracer, Fura-2 microfluorimetry, and patch-clamp techniques revealed that neurounina-1 stimulated NCX1 and NCX2 activities with an EC(50) in the picomolar to low nanomolar range, whereas it did not affect NCX3 activity. Furthermore, by using chimera strategy and site-directed mutagenesis, three specific molecular determinants of NCX1 responsible for neurounina-1 activity were identified in the α-repeats. Interestingly, NCX3 became responsive to neurounina-1 when both α-repeats were replaced with the corresponding regions of NCX1. In vitro studies showed that 10 nM neurounina-1 reduced cell death of primary cortical neurons exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation followed by reoxygenation. Moreover, in vitro, neurounina-1 also reduced γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release, enhanced GABA(A) currents, and inhibited both glutamate release and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors. More important, neurounina-1 proved to have a wide therapeutic window in vivo. Indeed, when administered at doses of 0.003 to 30 μg/kg i.p., it was able to reduce the infarct volume of mice subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion even up to 3 to 5 hours after stroke onset. Collectively, the present study shows that neurounina-1 exerts a remarkable neuroprotective effect during stroke and increases NCX1 and NCX2 activities.

Concepts: Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, In vivo, Cerebral cortex, Middle cerebral artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Ischemia, In vitro


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utility of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) parameters as potential markers for amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). METHODS: By means of NIRS and TCD, noninvasive and inexpensive technologies, we studied 21 patients with aMCI (10 M and 11 F, 70.2±7.3years) and 10 age matched healthy controls. RESULTS: By means of NIRS, we found a significant mean decrease of tissue oxygen saturation of cortex microcirculation (TOI), - 27%, p<0.0005, on the temporal-parietal cortex of both side compared to the controls. By means of TCD, we found a significant mean increase of pulsatility index (PI), p<0.0007, of middle cerebral artery (MCA) of both side compared to the controls. Cerebrovascular risk factors were present in 81% of the aMCI patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our study reveals that the TOI reduction on the temporal-parietal cortex of both side and the increase of PI in both MCA are associated with a clinical diagnosis of aMCI patients. SIGNIFICANCE: The reduction of TOI may be considered a new marker for aMCI, especially when combined with the increase of PI in MCA.

Concepts: Blood, Temporal lobe, Cerebrum, Middle cerebral artery, Marker, Cultural studies, Near infrared spectroscopy