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Functional and anatomical evidence of cerebral tissue hypoxia in young sickle cell anemia mice

L. S. Cahill, L. M. Gazdzinski, A. K. Tsui, Y.-Q. Zhou, S. Portnoy, E. Liu, C. D. Mazer, G. M. Hare, A. Kassner, J. G. Sled
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism2016
Cerebral ischemia is a significant source of morbidity in children with sickle cell anemia; however, the mechanism of injury is poorly understood. Increased cerebral blood flow and low hemoglobin levels in children with sickle cell anemia are associated with increased stroke risk, suggesting that anemia-induced tissue hypoxia may be an important factor contributing to subsequent morbidity. To better understand the pathophysiology of brain injury, brain physiology and morphology were characterized in a transgenic mouse model, the Townes sickle cell model. Relative to age-matched controls, sickle cell anemia mice demonstrated: (1) decreased brain tissue pO2 and increased expression of hypoxia signaling protein in the perivascular regions of the cerebral cortex; (2) elevated basal cerebral blood flow , consistent with adaptation to anemia-induced tissue hypoxia; (3) significant reduction in cerebrovascular blood flow reactivity to a hypercapnic challenge; (4) increased diameter of the carotid artery; and (5) significant volume changes in white and gray matter regions in the brain, as assessed by ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that brain tissue hypoxia contributes to adaptive physiological and anatomic changes in Townes sickle cell mice. These findings may help define the pathophysiology for stroke in children with sickle cell anemia. Keywords
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