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1.  Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1) Independent Microvascular Angiogenesis in the Aged Rat Brain 
Brain Research  2010;1366:101-109.
Angiogenesis is a critical component of mammalian brain adaptation to prolonged hypoxia. Hypoxia-induced angiogenesis is mediated by hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) dependent transcriptional activation of growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Microvascular angiogenesis occurs over a three week period in the rodent brain. We have recently reported that HIF-1α accumulation and transcriptional activation of HIF target genes in the aged cortex of 24 month F344 rats is significantly attenuated during acute hypoxic exposure. In the present study, we show that cortical HIF-1α accumulation and HIF-1 activation remains absent during chronic hypoxic exposure in the aged rat brain (24 month F344). Despite this lack of HIF-1 activation, there is no significant difference in baseline or post-hypoxic brain capillary density counts between the young (3 month F344) and old age groups. VEGF mRNA and protein levels are significantly elevated in the aged cortex despite the lack of HIF-1 activation. Other HIF-independent mediators of hypoxia inducible genes could be involved during chronic hypoxia in the aged brain. PPAR-γ coactivator (PGC)-1α, a known regulator of VEGF gene transcription, is elevated in the young and aged cortex during the chronic hypoxic exposure. Overall, our results suggest a compensatory HIF-1 independent preservation of hypoxic-induced microvascular angiogenesis in the aged rat brain.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.09.064
PMCID: PMC3378376  PMID: 20875806
Aging; Angiogenesis; Brain; Hypoxia; HIF-1; Microvessels; PGC-1α; VEGF
2.  Safety evaluation of a recombinant plasmin derivative lacking kringles 2–5 and rt-PA in a rat model of transient ischemic stroke 
Background
Tissue type plasminogen activator is the only approved thrombolytic agent for the treatment of ischemic stroke. However, it carries the disadvantage of a 10-fold increase in symptomatic and asymptomatic intracranial hemorrhage. A safer thrombolytic agent may improve patient prognosis and increase patient participation in thrombolytic treatment. A novel direct-acting thrombolytic agent, Δ(K2-K5) plasmin, promising an improved safety profile was examined for safety in the snare ligature model of stroke in the rat.
Methods
Male spontaneously hypertensive rats were subjected to 6 hours middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by 18 hours reflow. Beginning 1 minute before reflow, they were dosed with saline, vehicle, Δ(K2-K5) plasmin (0.15, 0.5, 1.5, and 5 mg/kg) or recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (10 and 30 mg/kg) by local intra-arterial infusion lasting 10 to 60 minutes. The rats were assessed for bleeding score, infarct volume, modified Bederson score and general behavioral score. In a parallel study, temporal progression of infarct volume was determined. In an in vitro study, whole blood clots from humans, canines and rats were exposed to Δ(K2-K5). Clot lysis was monitored by absorbance at 280 nm.
Results
The main focus of this study was intracranial hemorrhage safety. Δ(K2-K5) plasmin treatment at the highest dose caused no more intracranial hemorrhage than the lowest dose of recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator, but showed at least a 5-fold superior safety margin. Secondary results include: temporal infarct volume progression shows that the greatest expansion of infarct volume occurs within 2–3 hours of middle cerebral artery occlusion in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. A spike in infarct volume was observed at 6 hours ischemia with reflow. Δ(K2-K5) plasmin tended to reduce infarct volume and improve behavior compared to controls. In vitro data suggests that Δ(K2-K5) plasmin is equally effective at lysing clots from humans, canines and rats.
Conclusions
The superior intracranial hemorrhage safety profile of the direct-acting thrombolytic Δ(K2-K5) plasmin compared with recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator makes this agent a good candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke.
doi:10.1186/2040-7378-4-10
PMCID: PMC3464715  PMID: 22591588
Ischemic stroke; Δ(K2-K5) plasmin; Intracranial hemorrhage; Spontaneously hypertensive rat model; Recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA); Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo)
3.  Intra-arterial administration of recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA) causes more intracranial bleeding than does intravenous rt-PA in a transient rat middle cerebral artery occlusion model 
Background
Intra-arterial (IA) administration of rt-PA for ischemic stroke has the potential for greater thrombolytic efficacy, especially for a large thrombus in the M1 or M2 segment of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a concern with IA or intravenous (IV) administration especially as the therapeutic window is extended. However, because IA administration delivers a higher local concentration of agent, the incidence and severity of ICH may be greater than with similar doses IV. We investigated the safety of rt-PA administration by IA compared to IV infusion following 6 hours of MCA occlusion (MCAo) with reflow in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR).
Methods
Male SHRs were subjected to 6 hours MCAo with 18 hours reflow using a snare ligature model. They were treated with IA saline, IA rt-PA (1, 5, 10, 30 mg/kg), or IV rt-PA (10 and 30 mg/kg) by a 10 to 60 minute infusion beginning approximately 1 minute before reflow. The rats were recovered for 24 hours after MCAo onset at which time Bleeding Score, infarct volume, and Modified Bederson Score were measured.
Results
Greater hemorrhagic transformation occurred with 10 and 30 mg/kg rt-PA administered IA than IV. The IV 10 mg/kg rt-PA dosage induced significantly less bleeding than did the 1 or 5 mg/kg IA groups. No significant increase in infarct volume was observed after IA or IV treatment. Rats treated with 30 mg/kg rt-PA by either the IA or IV route had greater neurological dysfunction compared to all other groups.
Conclusions
Administration of rt-PA by the IA route following 6 hours of MCAo results in greater ICH and worse functional recovery than comparable dosages IV. Significantly greater bleeding was observed when the IA dose was a tenth of the IV dose. The increased bleeding did not translate in larger infarct volumes.
doi:10.1186/2040-7378-3-10
PMCID: PMC3184064  PMID: 21933438
4.  Diet-Induced Ketosis Improves Cognitive Performance in Aged Rats 
Aging is associated with increased susceptibility to hypoxic/ischemic insult and declines in behavioral function which may be due to attenuated adaptive/defense responses. We investigated if diet-induced ketosis would improve behavioral performance in the aged rats. Fischer 344 rats (3- and 22-month-old) were fed standard (STD) or ketogenic (KG) diet for 3 weeks and then exposed to hypobaric hypoxia. Cognitive function was measured using the T-maze and object recognition tests. Motor function was measured using the inclined-screen test. Results showed that KG diet significantly increased blood ketone levels in both young and old rats. In the aged rats, the KG diet improved cognitive performance under normoxic and hypoxic conditions; while motor performance remained unchanged. Capillary density and HIF-1α levels were elevated in the aged ketotic group independent of hypoxic challenge. These data suggest that diet-induced ketosis may be beneficial in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.
doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-1241-1_9
PMCID: PMC2874682  PMID: 20204773

Results 1-4 (4)