Heterogeneity in the penumbra

Gregory J. Del Zoppo, Frank R Sharp, Wolf Dieter Heiss, Gregory W. Albers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Original experimental studies in nonhuman primate models of focal ischemia showed flow-related changes in evoked potentials that suggested a circumferential zone of low regional cerebral blood flow with normal K homeostasis, around a core of permanent injury in the striatum or the cortex. This became the basis for the definition of the ischemic penumbra. Imaging techniques of the time suggested a homogeneous core of injury, while positing a surrounding penumbral region that could be salvaged. However, both molecular studies and observations of vascular integrity indicate a more complex and dynamic situation in the ischemic core that also changes with time. The microvascular, cellular, and molecular events in the acute setting are compatible with heterogeneity of the injury within the injury center, which at early time points can be described as multiple mini-cores associated with multiple mini-penumbras. These observations suggest the progression of injury from many small foci to a homogeneous defect over time after the onset of ischemia. Recent observations with updated imaging techniques and data processing support these dynamic changes within the core and the penumbra in humans following focal ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1836-1851
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Focal ischemia
  • imaging
  • ischemic penumbra
  • metabolic characteristics
  • microvessel characteristics
  • molecular characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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