Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 837–843 | Cite as

Caecal ligation and puncture induced sepsis in the rat results in increased brain water content and perimicrovessel oedema

  • Heather F. Brooks
  • Raymond F. Moss
  • Nathan A. Davies
  • Rajiv Jalan
  • D. Ceri Davies
Research Article


To investigate brain water content and ultrastructure in a rat caecal ligation and puncture (CLP) model of sepsis, adult male Wistar rats were assigned to one of the following experimental groups: CLP, Un-operated or Sham. CLP was performed under anaesthesia, Sham rats were exposed to anaesthesia, laparotomy and caecal mobilisation and Un-operated rats did not experience anaesthesia or surgery. CLP and Sham rats were sacrificed 18–20 h following recovery from surgery and Un-operated rats were sacrificed at the same time. Frontal cortex samples (CLP n = 9; Un-operated n = 10; Sham n = 8) were taken immediately post mortem and their water content determined using gravimetry. Similar samples were taken from other rats (CLP n = 8; Un-operated n = 8; Sham n = 8), processed for electron microscopy and subjected to morphometric analysis. There was significantly more brain water in CLP than Un-operated (P < 0.01) and Sham (P < 0.05) rats. Electron microscopy revealed significantly more peri-microvessel oedema in CLP than Un-operated (P < 0.001) and Sham rats (P < 0.05). Microvessel endothelial cell lumen cross-sectional area was significantly smaller in CLP than Un-operated (P < 0.001) and Sham (P < 0.05) rats and microvessel endothelial cell cross-sectional area was significantly smaller in CLP than Un-operated (P < 0.05) rats. Significantly more endothelial cell cytoplasmic area was occupied by mitochondria in CLP than Un-operated (P < 0.05) and Sham (P < 0.05) rats. However, experimental group did not affect the number of mitochondria present in endothelial cell profiles, or their cross-sectional area. Therefore, sepsis-induced cerebral oedema involves an increase in and a redistribution of brain water, together with ultrastructural changes to cerebral microvessels and adjacent tissue.


Encephalopathy Endothelial cell Electron microscopy Gravimetry 



H. F. Brooks was supported by an Anatomical Society post-graduate studentship.

Conflict of Interest

The authors do not have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather F. Brooks
    • 1
  • Raymond F. Moss
    • 2
  • Nathan A. Davies
    • 3
  • Rajiv Jalan
    • 3
  • D. Ceri Davies
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Basic Medical SciencesSt George’s University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Image Resource FacilitySt George’s University of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute for Liver and Digestive HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Surgery and CancerImperial College London. Human Anatomy UnitLondonUK

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