In humans and in animal models of stroke, collateral blood flow between territories of the major pial arteries has a profound impact on cortical infarct size. However, there is a gap in our understanding of the genetic determinants of collateral formation and flow, as well as the signaling pathways and neurovascular interactions regulating this flow. Previous studies have demonstrated that collateral flow between branches of the anterior cerebral artery and the middle cerebral artery (MCA) can protect mouse cortex from infarction after MCA occlusion. Because the number and diameter of collaterals vary among mouse strains and after transgenic manipulations, a combination of methods is required to control for these variations. Here, we report an inexpensive approach to characterizing the cerebrovascular anatomy, and in vivo monitoring of cerebral blood flow as well. Further, we introduce a new, minimally invasive method for the occlusion of distal MCA branches. These methods will permit a new generation of studies on the mechanisms regulating collateral remodeling and cortical blood flow after stroke.
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Supported by the University of Miami Scientific Awards Committee (RAD) and NIH grants NS034773 and NS045676 (MAP).
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