Molecular identification of the ischemic penumbra

Philip R. Weinstein, Shwuhuey Hong, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Review of results of experimental and clinical studies indicates that the penumbra of physiologically impaired but potentially salvageable tissue surrounding the central core of focal cerebral ischemia that develops shortly after onset of major conducting vessel occlusion is complex and dynamic with severity and duration thresholds for hypoxic stress and injury that are specific to tissue site, cell type, molecular pathway or gene expression investigated and efficiency of collateral or residual flow and reperfusion. Imaging methods that have been utilized in vivo to identify penumbra and predict response to reperfusion and other protective therapies include magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion- and perfusion-MRI as well as positron emission tomography. However, resolution of focal lesions characterized by lactic acidosis or cellular edema does not predict tissue survival, and imaging thresholds for resuscitation after reperfusion have not been determined experimentally. HSP-70 stress protein induction represents an endogenous protective mechanism that occurs in penumbra but not core neurones. A robust protective effect has been demonstrated during focal ischemia in transgenic mice overexpressing HSP-70 perhaps by suppressing early cytochrome c release. Delayed manganese mediated striatal neurodegeneration can be detected with T1 MRI after brief episodes of transient focal ischemia. Future studies may define endogenous cytotoxic and cytoprotective molecular penumbras that can be exploited to improve outcome after temporary focal ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2666-2670
Number of pages5
Issue number11 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Blood flow
  • Brain edema
  • Energy metabolism
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Protein synthesis
  • Stroke, ischemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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