• plasminogen activator;
  • rat;
  • t-PA;
  • u-PA


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different doses of exogenous recombinant human tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) on the endogenous cerebral plasminogen–plasmin system in focal ischemia in rats. Ischemia was induced using the suture model. Each group of rats (n = 6) received either treatment (0.9, 9 or 18 mg rt-PA/kg body weight) or saline (control group) at the end of ischemia; a sham-operated group was added. The activity of the plasminogen activators was measured by casein-dependent plasminogen zymography. In the cortex urokinase (u-PA) rose from sham (no ischemia), 91 ± 7% to ischemia, 176 ± 10% (P < 0.005). Increasing rt-PA doses led to further significant (P < 0.001) cortical u-PA activation which was maximal at 18 mg: 249 ± 13%. An extreme increase in the u-PA activity was observed in the basal ganglia to 1019 ± 22% (P < 0.001). This increase was further aggravated by higher rt-PA doses (18 mg, 1236 ± 15%; P < 0.001). The t-PA level did not change I3R24 during (3 h ischemia followed by reperfusion for 24 h); however, during low and moderate doses of rt-PA, endogenous t-PA was reduced. In conclusion, while ischemia leads to a significant increase in u-PA, mainly in the basal ganglia, t-PA is not altered. Increasing doses of rt-PA lead to a further elevation of u-PA. Thus, u-PA seems to play a major role in the endogenous plasminogen activator system following focal cerebral ischemia.