, Volume 79, Issue 5, pp 465-472

Prominent white matter lesions develop in Mongolian gerbils treated with 100% normobaric oxygen after global brain ischemia

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Summary

Carotid arteries were occluded bilaterally for 15 min in two groups of Mongolian gerbils. The first group received 100% oxygen during the first 3 h of reperfusion. During that period, room air was given to the second group. After 3 h, both groups received room air. Brains of gerbils that died within 14 days after occlusion were removed, fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Gerbils that survived 15–28 days were perfused with formalin before their brains were removed and embedded in paraffin. Adjacent, serially cut sections were stained with luxol fast blue (LFB)-H&E, cresyl violet, according to the Bodian method, or immunocytochemically with antisera raised against myelin basic protein (MBP) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). In brain sections of gerbils receiving 3 h of 100% oxygen, there were circumscribed white matter lesions in the corpus striatum, lateral thalamus, mesencephalon and posterior limb of the internal capsule. Myelin sheaths were swollen, fragmented and were less intensely stained by MBP antiserum. MBP and LFB-stained myelin fragments were present extracellularly and in macrophages. Many axons in these areas appeared undamaged. Previously described ischemic changes were found in gray matter and some areas of white matter in both groups. However, neurons in the deeper laminae of the cerebral cortex appeared to be better preserved in gerbils given oxygen. The results suggest that hyperoxia, if present immediately after transient brain ischemia, may damage myelin more severely than other cellular elements.