Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism


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


Positron emission tomography (PET) with (15)O tracers provides essential information in patients with cerebral vascular disorders, such as cerebral blood flow (CBF), oxygen extraction fraction (OEF), and metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO(2)). However, most of techniques require an additional C(15)O scan for compensating cerebral blood volume (CBV). We aimed to establish a technique to calculate all functional images only from a single dynamic PET scan, without losing accuracy or statistical certainties. The technique was an extension of previous dual-tracer autoradiography (DARG) approach, but based on the basis function method (DBFM), thus estimating all functional parametric images from a single session of dynamic scan acquired during the sequential administration of H(2)(15)O and (15)O(2). Validity was tested on six monkeys by comparing global OEF by PET with those by arteriovenous blood sampling, and tested feasibility on young healthy subjects. The mean DBFM-derived global OEF was 0.57±0.06 in monkeys, in an agreement with that by the arteriovenous method (0.54±0.06). Image quality was similar and no significant differences were seen from DARG; 3.57%±6.44% and 3.84%±3.42% for CBF, and -2.79%±11.2% and -6.68%±10.5% for CMRO(2). A simulation study demonstrated similar error propagation between DBFM and DARG. The DBFM method enables accurate assessment of CBF and CMRO(2) without additional CBV scan within significantly shortened examination period, in clinical settings.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 12 December 2012; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2012.188.

Concepts: Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Medical imaging, Carbon-11, Positron emission, Metabolism, Fluorine-18, Positron, Positron emission tomography


Pyrexia soon after stroke is associated with severe stroke and poor functional outcome. Few studies have assessed brain temperature after stroke in patients, so little is known of its associations with body temperature, stroke severity, or outcome. We measured temperatures in ischemic and normal-appearing brain using (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy and its correlations with body (tympanic) temperature measured four-hourly, infarct growth by 5 days, early neurologic (National Institute of Health Stroke Scale, NIHSS) and late functional outcome (death or dependency). Among 40 patients (mean age 73 years, median NIHSS 7, imaged at median 17 hours), temperature in ischemic brain was higher than in normal-appearing brain on admission (38.6°C-core, 37.9°C-contralateral hemisphere, P=0.03) but both were equally elevated by 5 days; both were higher than tympanic temperature. Ischemic lesion temperature was not associated with NIHSS or 3-month functional outcome; in contrast, higher contralateral normal-appearing brain temperature was associated with worse NIHSS, infarct expansion and poor functional outcome, similar to associations for tympanic temperature. We conclude that brain temperature is higher than body temperature; that elevated temperature in ischemic brain reflects a local tissue response to ischemia, whereas pyrexia reflects the systemic response to stroke, occurs later, and is associated with adverse outcomes.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 10 April 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.52.

Concepts: Embolism, Neurology, Myocardial infarction, Infarction, Temperature, Ischemia, Traumatic brain injury, Stroke


The mortality after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is 50%, and most survivors suffer severe functional and cognitive deficits. Half of SAH patients deteriorate 5 to 14 days after the initial bleeding, so-called delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Although often attributed to vasospasms, DCI may develop in the absence of angiographic vasospasms, and therapeutic reversal of angiographic vasospasms fails to improve patient outcome. The etiology of chronic neurodegenerative changes after SAH remains poorly understood. Brain oxygenation depends on both cerebral blood flow (CBF) and its microscopic distribution, the so-called capillary transit time heterogeneity (CTH). In theory, increased CTH can therefore lead to tissue hypoxia in the absence of severe CBF reductions, whereas reductions in CBF, paradoxically, improve brain oxygenation if CTH is critically elevated. We review potential sources of elevated CTH after SAH. Pericyte constrictions in relation to the initial ischemic episode and subsequent oxidative stress, nitric oxide depletion during the pericapillary clearance of oxyhemoglobin, vasogenic edema, leukocytosis, and astrocytic endfeet swelling are identified as potential sources of elevated CTH, and hence of metabolic derangement, after SAH. Irreversible changes in capillary morphology and function are predicted to contribute to long-term relative tissue hypoxia, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. We discuss diagnostic and therapeutic implications of these predictions.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 25 September 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.173.

Concepts: Reperfusion injury, Blood vessel, Ischemia, Hypoxia, Stroke, Blood, Traumatic brain injury, Subarachnoid hemorrhage


Arterial spin labeling (ASL) techniques are gaining popularity for visualizing and quantifying cerebral blood flow (CBF) in a range of patient groups. However, most ASL methods lack vessel-selective information, which is important for the assessment of collateral flow and the arterial supply to lesions. In this study, we explored the use of vessel-encoded pseudocontinuous ASL (VEPCASL) with multiple postlabeling delays to obtain individual quantitative CBF and bolus arrival time maps for each of the four main brain-feeding arteries and compared the results against those obtained with conventional pseudocontinuous ASL (PCASL) using matched scan time. Simulations showed that PCASL systematically underestimated CBF by up to 37% in voxels supplied by two arteries, whereas VEPCASL maintained CBF accuracy since each vascular component is treated separately. Experimental results in healthy volunteers showed that there is no systematic bias in the CBF estimates produced by VEPCASL and that the signal-to-noise ratio of the two techniques is comparable. Although more complex acquisition and image processing is required and the potential for motion sensitivity is increased, VEPCASL provides comparable data to PCASL but with the added benefit of vessel-selective information. This could lead to more accurate CBF estimates in patients with a significant collateral flow.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 7 August 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.129.

Concepts: Hematology, Measurement, Blood vessel, Vein, Myocardial infarction, Heart, Blood, Artery


Identifying the determinants of neuronal energy consumption and their relationship to information coding is critical to understanding neuronal function and evolution. Three of the main determinants are cell size, ion channel density, and stimulus statistics. Here we investigate their impact on neuronal energy consumption and information coding by comparing single-compartment spiking neuron models of different sizes with different densities of stochastic voltage-gated Na(+) and K(+) channels and different statistics of synaptic inputs. The largest compartments have the highest information rates but the lowest energy efficiency for a given voltage-gated ion channel density, and the highest signaling efficiency (bits spike(-1)) for a given firing rate. For a given cell size, our models revealed that the ion channel density that maximizes energy efficiency is lower than that maximizing information rate. Low rates of small synaptic inputs improve energy efficiency but the highest information rates occur with higher rates and larger inputs. These relationships produce a Law of Diminishing Returns that penalizes costly excess information coding capacity, promoting the reduction of cell size, channel density, and input stimuli to the minimum possible, suggesting that the trade-off between energy and information has influenced all aspects of neuronal anatomy and physiology.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 19 June 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.103.

Concepts: Ion channel, Voltage-dependent calcium channel, Membrane potential, Potassium channel, Action potential, Information theory, Neuron, Voltage-gated ion channel


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


Glycogen is present in the brain, where it has been found mainly in glial cells but not in neurons. Therefore, all physiologic roles of brain glycogen have been attributed exclusively to astrocytic glycogen. Working with primary cultured neurons, as well as with genetically modified mice and flies, here we report that-against general belief-neurons contain a low but measurable amount of glycogen. Moreover, we also show that these cells express the brain isoform of glycogen phosphorylase, allowing glycogen to be fully metabolized. Most importantly, we show an active neuronal glycogen metabolism that protects cultured neurons from hypoxia-induced death and flies from hypoxia-induced stupor. Our findings change the current view of the role of glycogen in the brain and reveal that endogenous neuronal glycogen metabolism participates in the neuronal tolerance to hypoxic stress.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 26 February 2014; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.33.

Concepts: Cerebellum, Brain, Cerebral cortex, Glial cell, Nervous system, Gap junction, Glycogen, Neuron


Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of monoamine oxidases (MAO-A: [(11)C]harmine, [(11)C]clorgyline, and [(11)C]befloxatone; MAO-B: [(11)C]deprenyl-D2) has been actively pursued given clinical importance of MAOs in human neuropsychiatric disorders. However, it is unknown how well PET outcome measures for the different radiotracers are quantitatively related to actual MAO protein levels. We measured regional distribution (n=38) and developmental/aging changes (21 hours to 99 years) of both MAOs by quantitative immunoblotting in autopsied normal human brain. MAO-A was more abundant than MAO-B in infants, which was reversed as MAO-B levels increased faster before 1 year and, unlike MAO-A, kept increasing steadily to senescence. In adults, regional protein levels of both MAOs were positively and proportionally correlated with literature postmortem data of MAO activities and binding densities. With the exception of [(11)C]befloxatone (binding potential (BP), r=0.61, P=0.15), correlations between regional PET outcome measures of binding in the literature and MAO protein levels were good (P<0.01) for [(11)C]harmine (distribution volume, r=0.86), [(11)C]clorgyline (λk(3), r=0.82), and [(11)C]deprenyl-D2 (λk(3) or modified Patlak slope, r=0.78 to 0.87), supporting validity of the latter imaging measures. However, compared with in vitro data, the latter PET measures underestimated regional contrast by ∼2-fold. Further studies are needed to address cause of the in vivo vs. in vitro nonproportionality.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 13 February 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.19.

Concepts: Positron, In vivo, In vitro, Oxidase, Medical imaging, Neuroimaging, Positron emission tomography, Monoamine oxidase


Hyperforin, a lipophilic constituent of medicinal herb St John’s wort, has been identified as the main active ingredient of St John’s wort extract for antidepressant action by experimental and clinical studies. Hyperforin is currently known to activate transient receptor potential canonical (subtype) 6 (TRPC6) channel, increase the phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB), and has N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-antagonistic effect that convert potential neuroprotective effects in vitro. However, the protective effects of hyperforin on ischemic stroke in vivo remain controversial and its neuroprotective mechanisms are still unclear. This study was designed to examine the effects of intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of hyperforin on transient focal cerebral ischemia in rats. Hyperforin, when applied immediately after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) onset, significantly reduced infarct volumes and apoptotic cells, and also increased neurologic scores at 24 hours after reperfusion accompanied by elevated TRPC6 and p-CREB activity and decreased SBDP145 activity. When MEK or CaMKIV activity was specifically inhibited, the neuroprotective effect of hyperforin was attenuated, and we observed a correlated decrease in CREB activity. In conclusion, our results clearly showed that ICV injection of hyperforin immediately after MCAO onset blocked calpain-mediated TRPC6 channels degradation, and then to stimulate the Ras/MEK/ERK and CaMKIV pathways that converge on CREB activation, contributed to neuroprotection.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 14 November 2012; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2012.164.

Concepts: In vitro, Middle cerebral artery, Ischemia, Neurology, Animal models of ischemic stroke, Hyperforin, Traumatic brain injury, Stroke