Microglia/macrophages proliferate in striatum and neocortex but not in hippocampus after brief global ischemia that produces ischemic tolerance in gerbil brain

Jialing Liu, Matthew Bartels, Aigang Lu, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The current study determined whether short durations of ischemia that produce ischemia-induced tolerance stimulate glial proliferation in brain. Adult male gerbils were injected with BrdU (50 mg/kg) and dividing cells were detected using immunocytochemistry after sham operations, 2.5 or 5 minutes of global ischemia, or ischemia-induced tolerance. The 2.5-minute ischemia and the ischemia-induced tolerance did not kill hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, whereas the 5-minute ischemia did kill the neurons. At 4 days after 2.5-minute global ischemia, when cell proliferation was maximal, BrdU-labeled cells increased in striatum and in neocortex, but not in hippocampus. The majority of the BrdU-labeled cells were double-labeled with isolectin B4, showing that these dividing cells were primarily microglia or macrophages, or both. Similarly, BrdU-labeled microglia/macrophages were found in striatum and neocortex but not in hippocampus of most animals 4 days after ischemia-induced tolerance (2.5 minutes of global ischemia followed 3 days later by 5 minutes of global ischemia). No detectable neuronal cell death existed in striatal and cortical regions where the microglia/macrophage proliferation occurred. Though 3 of 7 animals subjected to 2.5 minutes of ischemia showed decreased myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) immunostaining and increased numbers of adenomatous polyposis coli-stained oligodendrocytes in lateral striatum, this did not explain the microglia/macrophage proliferation. Data show that ischemia-induced tolerance in the gerbil is associated with proliferation of microglia/macrophages in striatum and cortex but not in hippocampus. Because there is no apparent neuronal death, it is postulated that the microglia/macrophage proliferation occurs in response to an unknown nonlethal injury to neurons or glia and may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • APC
  • BrdU
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Hippocampus
  • Ischemic tolerance
  • MAG
  • Microglia/macrophages/macrophages
  • Oligodendrocytes
  • Striatum
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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