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Marc R. Mayberg, Tomohisa Okada, and Don H. Bark

✓ A porcine model for subarachnoid hemorrhage has been developed to allow the selective application of blood and its components to cerebral arteries. Whole blood was centrifuged to produce two fractions consisting of washed erythrocytes (red blood cells, RBC's) and white blood cells (WBC) plus platelet-rich plasma (PRP); the RBC fraction was subsequently separated into hemoglobin (Hb)-containing cytosol and erythrocyte membranes. Each fraction was selectively applied to the middle cerebral artery (MCA) of pigs for 10 days; after which, vessels were perfusion-fixed and examined by light and transmission electron microscopy and immunohistochemical studies. By morphometric analysis, a marked reduction in the MCA lumen cross-sectional area was observed after selective application of RBC's or Hb/cytosol but not of WBC/PRP or erythrocyte membranes. In both RBC- and Hb/cytosol-treated vessels, luminal narrowing was associated with a differential increase in vessel wall thickness of the ventral (subarachnoid) compared to the dorsal (brain) aspect of the artery, but no significant change in cross-sectional area of the vessel wall. After 10 days of exposure to RBC's or Hb/cytosol, there was a spectrum of ultrastructural changes in the vessel wall comparable to those seen after periadventitial application of whole blood. Selective application of commercially available Hb to MCA produced similar structural and morphometric changes. The degree of luminal narrowing after exposure to whole blood or RBC's was proportional to the volume of the erythrocyte mass adjacent to the vessel at sacrifice. These data suggest that arterial narrowing after SAH is mediated by mechanisms related to prolonged exposure of the vessel wall to hemoglobin or its catabolites from lysing subarachnoid erythrocytes.

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Marc R. Mayberg, Tomohisa Okada, and Don H. Bark

✓ A porcine model was developed to allow quantitative assessment of morphological changes in cerebral arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage and to determine the significance of structural changes in producing arterial narrowing. Whole blood was selectively applied to the middle cerebral artery (MCA) of seven pigs. After 10 days, vessels were perfusion-fixed and examined by light and transmission electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry. The MCA's exposed to whole blood for 10 days showed prominent luminal narrowing associated with profound ultrastructural changes affecting all layers of the vessel wall. Morphometric analysis, however, demonstrated that significant reductions in the luminal cross-sectional area (−55.8% ± 12.5%, p < 0.005) and increases in radial wall thickness (75.1% ± 10.5%, p < 0.005) were associated with only minimal increase in the cross-sectional area of the vessel wall (12.5% ± 15%,p < 0.025). By stereological analysis, the volume density of individual components of the arterial wall was unchanged in MCA's exposed to blood. Vessels exposed to blood showed a 44% reduction in smooth-muscle cell immunoreactive actin and increased collagen in the extracellular matrix of the vessel wall. These data suggest that structural changes in cerebral arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage do not directly contribute to vessel narrowing through increases in wall mass. Nevertheless, such changes may reflect pathological mechanisms which act to augment prolonged vasoconstriction or inhibit the maintenance of normal vascular tone.