C57Black/6 and SV129 mice are widely used for the production of transgenic mutants in molecular stroke research but the ischemic susceptibility of these strains is influenced by differences in vascular anatomy and the responsiveness to excitotoxins and vasodilatory stimuli. To differentiate between these opposing effects on infarct size, the vascular territory of the two strains was correlated with the hemodynamic, metabolic, and morphological consequences of permanent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. The vascular anatomy was studied by latex infusion, brain infarction by vital staining, the size of the ischemic penumbra by imaging of ATP and protein synthesis, and blood flow by laser-Doppler flowmetry. In C57Black/6 mice the MCA-supplied vascular territory and the size of brain infarcts were significantly larger than in SV129 mice but the size of the penumbra and the residual blood flow in the center of the MCA-supplying territory were similar in both strains. These findings suggest that differences in infarct size in C57Black/6 and SV129 mice are determined mainly by the vascular anatomy and not by differences in collateral vascular responsiveness or excitotoxicity.
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