A reproducible model of global cerebral ischemia in mice is essential for elucidating the molecular mechanism of ischemic neuronal injury. Such a model is particularly important in the mouse because many genetically engineered mutant animals are available. In C57BL/6 and SV129/EMS mice, we evaluated a three-vessel occlusion model. Occlusion of the basilar artery with a miniature clip was followed by bilateral carotid occlusion. The mean cortical cerebral blood flow was reduced to less than 10% of the preischemic value, and the mean anoxic depolarization was attained within 1 minute. In C57BL/6 mice, there was CA1 hippocampal neuronal degeneration 4 days after ischemia. Neuronal damage depended upon ischemic duration: the surviving neuronal count was 78.5 +/- 8.5% after 8-minute ischemia and 8.4 +/- 12.7% after 14-minute ischemia. In SV129/EMS mice, similar neuronal degeneration was not observed after 14-minute ischemia. The global ischemia model in C57BL/6 mice showed high reproducibility and consistent neuronal injury in the CA1 sector, indicating that comparison of ischemic outcome between wild-type and mutant mice could provide meaningful data using the C57BL/6 genetic background. Strain differences in this study highlight the need for consideration of genetic background when evaluating ischemia experiments in mice.
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