Stroke is the third common cause of death and the most common cause of adult disability. Approximately 80% of all strokes are ischemic (brain infarction). The only approved acute therapy is intravenous thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator within 3 h of symptom onset but only a small percentage of all ischemic stroke patients can receive this therapy. Therefore, novel therapeutic approaches directed at the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in ischemic brain injury are urgently needed. To this end several experimental stroke models were developed. These models are indispensable for understanding the pathophysiology of brain ischemia and to develop novel drugs and investigative methodology. This review considers the most commonly used ischemic stroke models (including preconditioning models) in rodents emphasizing their advantages and disadvantages. Since none of the models can perfectly simulate human stroke, researchers must interpret experimental findings carefully.
Keywords: Rat, mouse, infarction, brain, ischemia, therapy, ischemic tolerance, magnetic resonance imaging, preconditioning
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