We investigated the extravasation of serum albumin using immunohistochemistry in three different conditions, i.e., infarction, selective neuronal death and selective loss of presynaptic terminals following cerebral ischemia in gerbils. In selective neuronal death, which is typically found in the CA1 neurons of the hippocampus after 5-min bilateral cerebral ischemia, selective damage of postsynaptic components with intact presynaptic sites was demonstrated by immunohistochemical examination for microtubule-associated protein 2 and synapsin I, and albumin extravasation did not become apparent before postsynaptic structures were destroyed. In cerebral infarction, which was consistently observed in the thalamus after 15-min forebrain ischemia, massive albumin extravasation was visible early after ischemia due probably to the ischemic endothelial necrosis. In selective loss of presynaptic terminals, which was detected at the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in the contralateral, nonischemic hippocampus after unilateral cerebral ischemia, immunoreaction for albumin was not visualized. Since endothelium and glial cells were intact in morphological aspects in selective damage of both pre- and postsynaptic sites, it was thought that extravasation was facilitated by the stimulation of endothelial cells and glial cells with unknown factors that were induced by the destruction of post- but not presynaptic elements.
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