• cerebral blood flow;
  • endothelin-1;
  • hypotension;
  • stroke


Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral autoregulation have been investigated 24 h after transient focal ischaemia in the rat. Cerebral blood flow was measured autoradiographically before and during a moderate hypotensive challenge, to test autoregulatory responses, using two CBF tracers, 99mTc-d,l-hexamethylproyleneamine oxide and 14C-iodoantipyrine. Prior to induced hypotension, CBF was significantly reduced within areas of infarction; cortex (28 ± 20 compared with 109 ± 23 mL/100 g/min contralateral to ischaemic focus, P = 0.001) and caudate (57 ± 31 compared with 141 ± 32 mL/100 g/min contralaterally, P = 0.005). The hypotensive challenge (mean arterial pressure reduced to 60 mmHg by increasing halothane concentration) did not compromise grey matter autoregulation in the contralateral hemisphere; CBF data were not significantly different at normotension and during hypotension. However, in the ipsilateral hemisphere, a significant volume of cortex adjacent to the infarct, which exhibited normal flow at normotension, became oligaemic during the hypotensive challenge (e.g. frontal parietal cortex 109 ± 15% to 65 ± 15% of cerebellar flow, P < 0.01). This resulted in a 2.5-fold increase in the volume of cortex which fell below 50% cerebellar flow (39 ± 34 to 97 ± 46 mm3, P = 0.003). Moderate hypotension induced a significant reduction in CBF in both ipsilateral and contralateral subcortical white matter (P < 0.01). In peri-infarct caudate tissue, CBF was not significantly affected by hypotension. In conclusion, a significant volume of histologically normal cortex within the middle cerebral artery territory was found to have essentially normal levels of CBF but impaired autoregulatory function at 24 h post-ischaemia.