Transfemoral Approach to Induce Transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Rats: The Use of Commercially Available Endovascular Wires

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BACKGROUND: Animal models of stroke play a crucial role in determining the pathophysiology of stroke progression and assessment of any new therapeutic approaches. Transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo) in rodent models are the most common site-specific type of ischemia because of their relevance to the clinical setting. Compared with the intraluminal filament technique for inducing tMCAo, the transfemoral approach using endovascular wires is relatively a new technique METHODS: Here we present the use of commercially available wires used for neuro-endovascular surgical procedures to induce tMCAo in rats via a transfemoral approach. We used male Wistar rats in four groups to assess the effect of occlusion time (1 vs. 2 hours) and the wire type (PT2 TM 0.014″ vs. TransendTM EX, 0.014″, Boston Scientific, MA, USA). Infarct volume, edema, neurological deficits, and pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory blood biomarkers were used as outcome measures.

RESULTS: We observed a significant effect of the wire type on the infarct volume (p value = 0.0096) where infarcts were slightly larger in the PT2 wiregroups. However, the occlusion time had no significant effect on infarct volume, even though the interaction between wire-type * occlusion-time was significant (p value = 0.024). Also, the amount of edema and blood pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory biomarkers were not statistically different among the wire-type and occlusion-time groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The choice of appropriate endovascular wire should probably be the focus of the study design instead of the occlusion time when planning an experiment. The transfemoral approach using endovascular wires for inducing tMCAo in rats provides a more consistent outcome with fewer complications compared with suture filament models.