Background: Ischemic stroke-reperfusion (S/R) injury is a crucial issue in the protection of brain function after thrombolysis. The vasodilation induced by ultrasound (US)-stimulated microbubble cavitation has been applied to reduce S/R injury through sonoperfusion. The present study uses oxygen-loaded microbubbles (OMBs) with US stimulation to provide sonoperfusion and local oxygen therapy for the reduction of brain infarct size and neuroprotection after S/R.
Methods: The murine S/R model was established by photodynamic thrombosis and thrombolysis at the remote branch of the anterior cerebral artery. In vivo blood flow, partial oxygen pressure (pO2), and brain infarct staining were examined to analyze the validity of the animal model and OMB treatment results. The animal behaviors and measurement of the brain infarct area were used to evaluate long-term recovery of brain function.
Results: The percentage of blood flow was 45 ± 3%, 70 ± 3%, and 86 ± 2% after 60 min stroke, 20 min reperfusion, and 10 min OMB treatment, respectively, demonstrating sonoperfusion, and the corresponding pO2 level was 60 ± 1%, 76 ± 2%, and 79 ± 4%, showing reoxygenation. After 14 days of treatment, a 87 ± 3% reduction in brain infarction and recovery of limb coordination were observed in S/R mice. The expression of NF-κB, HIF-1α, IL-1β, and MMP-9 was inhibited and that of eNOS, BDNF, Bcl2, and IL-10 was enhanced, indicating activation of anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptosis responses and neuroprotection. Our study demonstrated that OMB treatment combines the beneficial effects of sonoperfusion and local oxygen therapy to reduce brain infarction and activate neuroprotection to prevent S/R injury.