Selective intraarterial drug delivery is used to achieve enhanced local uptake with reduced systemic side effects. In the present paper the authors describe and characterize a new microcatheter-based model of superselective perfusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in rats combined with blockade of blood flow through the MCA.
Selectivity of administration was shown by infusion of Evans blue which diffusely stained the MCA territory, indicating an increased permeability of the blood–brain barrier during the blockade of blood flow to the MCA. Perfusion of autologous blood through the microcatheter resulted in a flow rate–related increase in the cerebral blood flow measured by laser Doppler flowmetry. Similarly, infusion of an artificial O2 carrier, Oxycyte, was accompanied by an increase in tissue oxygenation as measured using a Licox sensor. Blockade of blood flow to the MCA with the new microcatheter for an extended period of time resulted in the development of ischemia, which was comparable to that induced by intravascular occlusion using a silicone-coated thread. In a 24-hour MCA occlusion model, selective administration of a low dose of MK-801 (0.3 mg/kg body weight) resulted in a significantly smaller infarct volume than systemic application (339 ± 53 mm3 compared with 508 ± 26 mm3, p < 0.001).
This new model of superselective MCA infusion is a valuable tool for investigating the effect of selective delivery and enhanced drug uptake into cerebral ischemic tissue. Without constant blockade of blood flow through the MCA it may also be useful for enhanced drug uptake, gene transfer, or application of stem cells in other neuro-pathological conditions.