Stroke is one of the most common diseases and a leading cause of death and disability. Cessation of cerebral blood flow (CBF) leads to cell death in the infarct core, but tissue surrounding the core has the potential to recover if local reductions in CBF are restored. In these areas, detrimental peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) contribute to secondary infarct growth and negatively affect stroke outcome. However, the cellular pathways underlying PIDs have remained unclear. Here, we have used in vivo multiphoton microscopy, laser speckle imaging of CBF, and electrophysiological recordings in a mouse model of focal ischemia to demonstrate that PIDs are associated with a strong increase of intracellular calcium in astrocytes and neurons. We found that astroglial calcium elevations during PIDs are mediated by inositol triphosphate receptor type 2–dependent (IP3R2-dependent) release from internal stores. Importantly, Ip3r2-deficient mice displayed a reduction of PID frequency and overall PID burden and showed increased neuronal survival after stroke. These effects were not related to local CBF changes in response to PIDs. However, we showed that the release and extracellular accumulation of glutamate during PIDs is strongly curtailed in Ip3r2-deficient mice, resulting in ameliorated calcium overload in neurons and astrocytes. Together, these data implicate astroglial calcium pathways as potential targets for stroke therapy.
Cordula Rakers, Gabor C. Petzold
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