Estrogens decrease reperfusion-associated cortical ischemic damage: An MRI analysis in a transient focal ischemia model

Jiong Shi, Jonathan D. Bui, Shao Hua Yang, Zhen He, Timothy H. Lucas, David L. Buckley, Stephen J. Blackband, Michael A. King, Arthur L. Day, James W. Simpkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Early identification of irreversible cerebral ischemia is critical in defining strategies that influence neuronal survival after stroke. We used MRI to investigate the effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) on the temporal evolution of focal ischemia. Methods - Female rats were ovariectomized and divided into 1 of 2 groups: ovariectomy alone (OVX; n=4) or ovariectomy with estrogen replacement (OVX+E2; n=3). Both groups were then subjected to 1-hour middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), with the use of a standardized endovascular monofilament model, followed by reperfusion. Sequential diffusion-weighted (DWI) and T2-weighted (T2WI) MRI were obtained during and after the MCAO. In separate groups of animals (n=5 for OVX and OVX+E2), cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured by laser-Doppler methods before, during, and after occlusion. Results - DWI detected similar lesion characteristics during MCAO in both groups. In the OVX group, lesion size did not change during reperfusion, but the signal intensity ratio increased early and stabilized during the latter stages, In contrast, DWI lesion size decreased during reperfusion in OVX+E2 rats by 50% to 60% (P<0.05), a size reduction almost exclusively limited to cortical regions. During MCAO, the signal intensity ratio in OVX+E2 rats was reduced compared with OVX rats. Reperfusion further attenuated the signal intensity ratio in cortical but not subcortical regions (P<0.05 versus OVX). T2WI revealed no lesions in either group during MCAO, but it detected lesion sizes similar to that of DWI during reperfusion. Furthermore, similar patterns and magnitudes of estrogen treatment-related decrease in lesion size were noted after reperfusion. T2WI demonstrated less intense signal intensity ratio changes in both groups compared with DWI. There were no differences in CBF between groups either during occlusion, early reperfusion, or 1 day after reperfusion. Conclusions - This study strongly suggests that estrogens selectively protect cortical tissue from ischemic damage during MCAO and that this protection is exerted during both the occlusion and reperfusion phases of ischemia and does not involve an estrogen-related change in CBF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-992
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cerebral ischemia focal
  • Estrogens
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroprotection
  • Reperfusion injury


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