Temporal ordering of pathogenic events following transient global ischemia

Raymond T. Bartus, Reginald L. Dean, Steve Mennerick, David Eveleth, Gary Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Rats were subjected to transient global ischemia (four vessel occlusion) and time-related changes in the selectively vulnerable hippocampal field CA1 were characterized. The assessment included ex vivo field responses to afferent stimulation, silver staining, calpain-induced spectrin breakdown, chromatolysis, and cell death, beginning at 6 h post-ischemia and continuing until total disintegration of the pyramidal cells occurred several days later. The earliest change observed was a modest increase in the slope and amplitude of field CA1 potentials (at 6 h). The hyperresponsiveness was most apparent at higher stimulation currents and persisted unchanged at 16 h post- ischemia. Three effects became detectable within 24 h, post-ischemia: (a) an increase in concentrations of calpain-mediated, spectrin breakdown products; (b) enhanced silver staining in the deep pyramidal neurons of the field CA1 with lesser, though still apparent, staining of stratum radiatum, and (c) a decrease in amplitude and slope of field CA1 responses to afferent stimulation. Both the concentration of spectrin breakdown products and the intensity of silver staining progressively increased to a maximum at four days post ischemia, while the amplitude and slope of the field responses dropped to a very low level between 24 and 48 h. Disturbances of Nissl staining were finally evident at 48 h, with nearly complete disappearance of staining at five days post-ischemia. This study provides the first demonstration of a close and early temporal relationship between calpain proteolysis, subcellular damage to the pyramidal cells and their loss of function following global ischemia, prior to their eventual death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 20 1998


  • Calpain proteolysis
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Delayed cell death
  • Field potentials
  • Hippocampus
  • Selective vulnerability
  • Silver stain
  • Spectrin


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