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PLOS ONE  2013 

Impact of Perinatal Systemic Hypoxic–Ischemic Injury on the Brain of Male Offspring Rats: An Improved Model of Neonatal Hypoxic–Ischemic Encephalopathy in Early Preterm Newborns

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082502

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In this study, we attempted to design a model using Sprague-Dawley rats to better reproduce perinatal systemic hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in early preterm newborns. On day 21 of gestation, the uterus of pregnant rats were exposed and the blood supply to the fetuses of neonatal HIE groups were thoroughly abscised by hemostatic clamp for 5, 10 or 15 min. Thereafter, fetuses were moved from the uterus and manually stimulated to initiate breathing in an incubator at 37 °C for 1 hr in air. We showed that survival rates of offspring rats were decreased with longer hypoxic time. TUNEL staining showed that apoptotic cells were significant increased in the brains of offspring rats from the 10 min and 15 min HIE groups as compared to the offspring rats in the control group at postnatal day (PND) 1, but there was no statistical difference between the offspring rats in the 5 min HIE and control groups. The perinatal hypoxic treatment resulted in decreased neurons and increased cleaved caspase-3 protein levels in the offspring rats from all HIE groups at PND 1. Platform crossing times and the percentage of the time spent in the target quadrant of Morris Water Maze test were significantly reduced in the offspring rats of all HIE groups at PND 30, which were associated with decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and neuronal cells in the hippocampus of offspring rats at PND 35. These data demonstrated that perinatal ischemic injury led to the death of neuronal cells and long-lasting impairment of memory. This model reproduced hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in early preterm newborns and may be appropriate for investigating therapeutic interventions.


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