Glial responses, neuron death and lesion resolution after intracerebral hemorrhage in young vs. aged rats

Authors

  • Jason K. Wasserman,

    1. Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Helen Yang,

    1. Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Lyanne C. Schlichter

    1. Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Dr Lyanne C. Schlichter, 1Toronto Western Research Institute, as 1above.
E-mail: schlicht@uhnres.utoronto.ca

Abstract

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) usually affects older humans but almost no experimental studies have assessed aged animals. We address how aging alters inflammation, neuron death and lesion resolution after a hemorrhage in the rat striatum. In the normal aged brain, microglia displayed a ‘dystrophic’ phenotype, with shorter cellular processes and large gaps between adjacent cells, and there was more astrocyte reactivity. The ICH injury was monitored as hematoma volume and number of dying neurons at 1 and 3 days, and the volume of the residual lesion, ventricles and lost tissue at 28 days. Inflammation at 1 and 3 days was assessed from densities of microglia with resting vs. activated morphologies, or expressing the lysosomal marker ED1. Despite an initial delay in neuron death in aged animals, by 28 days, there was no difference in neuron density or volume of tissue lost. However, lesion resolution was impaired in aged animals and there was less compensatory ventricular expansion. At 1 day after ICH, there were fewer activated microglia/macrophages in the aged brain, but by 3 days there were more of these cells at the edge of the hematoma and in the surrounding parenchyma. In both age groups a glial limitans had developed by 3 days, but astrocyte reactivity and the spread of activated microglia/macrophages into the surrounding parenchyma was greater in the aged. These findings have important implications for efforts to reduce secondary injury after ICH and to develop anti-inflammatory therapies to treat ICH in aged humans.

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