Scientists have found a way to model different types of stroke with unprecedented precision by targeting individual rat blood vessels with controlled laser bursts, as described in the February issue of Nature Methods.
Any disruption in the flow of blood to the brain can potentially be devastating, and even a mild stroke can result in lingering neurological damage. The physiological causes of stroke can vary, but typically involve physical obstruction or damage to the integrity of cerebral blood vessels; as such, most current animal models for stroke involve either surgical manipulation or the direct injection of blood or clotting agents.
David Kleinfeld and colleagues have now developed a powerful alternative approach that not only offers greater precision, but also enables the modeling of three different scenarios for the onset of stroke. Using state of the art brain mapping and imaging technologies they targeted rat brain vasculature with short pulses of laser light. By controlling the duration and energy of those pulses they found they could control the nature of the damage being induced, ranging from blood vessel leakage to the formation of flow-blocking clots to complete vascular rupture.
Preliminary experiments in the paper demonstrate the potential value of this technique for testing therapeutic agents to help prevent or counter the damage resulting from stroke. In an accompanying News and Views feature, Robert Flaumenhaft and Eng Lo describe the technique as "a considerable new advance", adding that its precision and versatility could help scientists address many unanswered questions about stroke.
David Kleinfeld (University of California at San Diego, CA, USA)
Robert Flaumenhaft (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MA, USA)
Eng H. Lo (Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Methods press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza