Pre-ischemic exercise preserves cerebral blood flow during reperfusion in stroke

Nathan Zwagerman, Shane Sprague, Michael Duff Davis, Bradley Daniels, Gunjan Goel, Yuchuan Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The neuroprotective nature of exercise has been well established and the mechanisms of this protection are still a subject of much research. This study aims to determine if cerebral blood flow is constituently higher during the ischemia or reperfusion events in stroke. Materials and methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned into exercise or non-exercise (control) groups. Exercised rats underwent 30 minutes of running on a treadmill for 3 weeks. A 2 hour unilateral middle cerebral artery occlusion using an intraluminal filament was performed to induce ischemic stroke, followed by a 24 hour reperfusion. A sham control without exercise and middle cerebral artery occlusion was used. Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) and 15O-H 2O positron emission tomography (PET) were used to determine cerebral blood flow, respectively. 18F-fluorodeoxy-D-glucose was used to determine cerebral metabolism in some animals. Histological analysis determined infarct volume in the same animal after blood flow examination. Results: LDF and PET both indicated that middle cerebral artery occlusion significantly (p<0·05) reduced cerebral blood flow during ischemia and reperfusion in association with reduced cerebral metabolism after stroke. However, pre-ischemic exercise significantly (p<0·05) improved cerebral blood flow during reperfusion, although cerebral blood flow remained at a similar level to that of the non-exercise stroke group during the middle cerebral artery occlusion. This improved cerebral blood flow during reperfusion was associated with decreased brain infarct volume. Conclusions: This study revealed that pre-ischemic exercise in rats improved cerebral blood flow during reperfusion, suggesting that exercise provides neuroprotection by partially ameliorating the 'no reflow' phenomenon in stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-529
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • 15O-H2O PET
  • 18F-FDG
  • Exercise
  • Laser Doppler flowmetry
  • Neuroprotection
  • Reperfusion injury
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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